careers plumbing

Plumbing Jobs – Young Jobseeker Info

Plumbing jobs… did you know?

Nearly every building you see around you involves pipework, whether it’s someone’s home or a building or construction site. As a plumber you’ll be working with your hands and solving problems. You’ve probably heard it said many times before – the world always needs plumbers.

Industry: Construction

Plumber job trends

How much money can you make as a plumber?

£15,000 – £40,000 (UK average)

Recent labour market information says you can earn on average between £15,000 and £40,000 a year as a plumber in the UK.

However, your starting salary depends on your experience and training. It can also vary because of factors like location or the size of the company. Your salary as a plumber will build over time as you build skills, knowledge and experience.

What entry qualifications and training do you need for this job?

School, college and training

Plumbers need qualifications to prove they can do the job. You’ll usually need GCSES (or equivalent at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) in maths, English and science.

There are various industry-related vocational qualifications you can get, like a level 2 Diploma in Domestic Plumbing and heating. Doing this as a college course can help you get trainee plumbing positions in a company.

Here’s an example of what you could see on a plumbing CV:

  • BTEC Level 1 / 2 First Award in Construction and the Built Environment (Technical Award)
  • EAL Level 2 Intermediate Diploma in plumbing (Technical Certificate which you could take at 16)
  • EAL Level 3 Advanced Diploma in Plumbing

If you want to work with domestic gas heating systems, you’ll also need gas-related units at level 3.

You can also do apprenticeships which will give you a qualification combined with real-life experience.

While at school or college, speak to your careers advisor about useful training and/or courses for you to take and find out more about the types of career routes available.

Career progression and further qualifications

Over time, you could do an HND or degree to become an engineer. From here you’ll have more career options including building services engineering or estimating and contract management.

What experience do you need for plumbing jobs?

Work experience

With a job like plumbing, experience counts for a lot. At school/college and beyond, aim to get work experience to build your CV. This can involve:

  • Work shadowing (even if it’s just for a day)
  • Work placements in a company

Ask around friends and family to see if you know anyone who works in plumbing or the building trade. Ask if there are any opportunities for you to do shadowing, work placements or work experience with them.

Volunteering

Volunteering shows employers you have an active interest in what plumbing involves and can help you build up the life and work skills you need. Look for volunteering projects that give you a chance to work with your hands, follow instructions, keep to health and safety guidelines and build as a team.

Check the list of useful plumbing skills below to see if you can present own experience in a way that shows your good understanding of plumbing jobs involved.

What skills do you need for plumbing jobs?

Useful skills to highlight to your employer when applying for jobs as a plumber include:

  • Customer care skills – you’ll be working with the public and suppliers
  • Mechanical skills – you’ll be working with power tools and other kinds of machinery
  • Number skills – you’ll need to know your centimetres from your inches
  • An eye for visual detail – you’ll be reading technical drawings and plans to make sure your finished project looks good and works just how it’s meant to.

Vocational qualifications and work experience will help you build these skills over time.

What does a plumber do?

Knowing a little more about this role will help you show the employer you understand what this job is about. It can also help you decide if plumbing is right for you.

Plumbing is hands-on work that will never go out of fashion because most buildings have pipework that needs to be installed and repaired. You could be working with pipes to make great sewage, drainage, drinking water and crop irrigation a reality. You could even install water features like the fountain in London’s Trafalgar Square.

Example job responsibilities:

  • Carrying out a wide variety of work including installing bathrooms, working with radiator pipes in winter, installing ‘white goods’ like washing machines, checking air-con units
  • Testing and repairing pipes to make sure they don’t leak
  • Constructing new pipes – this can involve measuring, cutting, fitting and testing pipes
  • Using machinery including hand tools, power tools and welding tools
  • Following technical plans and drawings with attention to detail to get things just right
  • Working with other professionals like architects.
  • Always knowing how important health and safety is to both you and your clients

Your first steps into plumber jobs

To find jobs for young people in this role, search on job boards for positions with these words in the title:

  • Junior plumber
  • Apprentice plumber
  • Trainee plumber
  • Assistant plumber

Useful organisations and links for plumber careers

Construction jobs you might like...

View job descriptions with average UK salary, useful qualifications and a variety of routes into this career. Or see our full list of careers in construction!


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