- Fit and service heating and water systems
- You'll need to follow technical drawings and plans, practical and customer care skills, and the ability to follow safe working practices
- You could progress to take an HND or degree and become an engineer
As a plumber, you'll service and repair heating, water and sanitation systems in domestic and commercial premises.
- Measuring and planning to give cost and time estimates
- Cutting, bending and joining pipes and fittings
- Installing water, drainage and heating systems
- Finding and fixing faults
- Servicing gas and oil-fired central heating systems and radiators
- Installing and fixing domestic appliances like showers and washing machines
- Dealing with emergency call-outs like boiler breakdowns or blocked drains
- Fitting weather-proof materials, joints and flashings to roofs, chimneys and walls
You could work at a client's home or at a client's business. Your working environment may be cramped, at heigh and outdoors at times. You'll travel locally between jobs but you may have to work away from home on some contracts.
To be a plumber, you'll need the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools, knowledge of building and construction, thoroughness and attention to detail, maths knowledge, the ability to work well with others, good initiative, the ability to work well with your hands, and physical skills like movement, coordination, dexterity and grace.
You could start as a plumber's assistant or 'mate' and do training on the job to qualify. You'll usually need some GCSEs (English and maths), along with good practical skills.
Direct application for jobs is possible if you've got qualifications and several years' experience from related industries, such as building services or heating and ventilation engineering.
You could do a Level 2 and 3 Diploma in Plumbing and Domestic Heating. This will help when applying for a trainee position with a plumbing company.
You could get into this job through an intermediate and advanced apprenticeship in plumbing and domestic heating. This can take up to 4 years.
You'll need to be on the Gas Safe Register to work with domestic gas heating systems.
You can develop your skills by taking further training in areas such as heating, ventilation and air-conditioning, and renewable energy technologies like solar powered heating.
You can also join the Gas Safe Register or get certified with the Oil Firing Technical Association (OFTEC). This shows that you're qualified to work on gas and oil-fired appliances.
You could go on to take a higher national diploma or degree, and become an engineer. This would give you career options in building services engineering, estimating and contract management.