Go Construct
King’s Lynn, Norfolk, GB
4d ago

Plumbers fit and maintain water systems in buildings. This includes toilets, baths, showers, sinks, washing machines and dishwashers.

They can also install central heating systems but need additional qualifications to work with gas boilers. Plumbers install new pipework, service older systems, identify and fix faults, and may attend emergency call-outs when water or heating systems are damaged.


Typical hours per week


How to become a plumber

There are several routes to becoming a plumber. You can gain the qualifications you need by doing a college course or an apprenticeship.

If you already have relevant experience you may be able to apply directly to an employer or train on the job.

You should explore these routes to find out which is the right one for you. Although some of these options will list qualification requirements many employers are more interested in people who are enthusiastic, willing to learn and can follow instructions.

You may need a (CSCS) card to work on a construction site.

College / training provider

There is strong competition for places on plumbing courses. You could do a Level 2 or 3 Diploma in Plumbing and Domestic Heating.

Afterwards, you could apply for a trainee position with a plumbing company.

You’ll need :

  • 2 or more GCSEs (or equivalent) at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D) (level 2 course)
  • 4 - 5 GCSEs (or equivalent) at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) (level 3 course).
  • Apprenticeship

    An apprenticeship with a construction firm is a good way into the industry. Apprenticeships are open to anyone over the age of 16.

    As an apprentice, you will be fully employed by your company and expected to work a minimum of 30 hours a week. Your time will be split between on-the-job experience and a college or training provider.

    An intermediate plumbing apprenticeship takes two to four years to complete.

    You’ll need :

  • Up to 5 GCSEs (or equivalent), including English and maths (intermediate apprenticeship)
  • 5 GCSEs (or equivalent) at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English and maths (advanced apprenticeship).
  • Work

    If you have GCSEs (or equivalent) including English and maths, along with good practical skills, you might be able to get a job as a plumber’s mate, trainee or assistant.

    Your employer may then help to provide training so you can qualify.

    If you have qualifications or experience in building services or heating and ventilation engineering you may be able to apply directly to an employer.

    Work experience

    Work experience is essential to gaining employment within the construction industry. You could gain this at school, or by working weekends and holidays with a company or relative who works in construction.

    Potential employers will always be pleased to see work experience listed on your CV.


    Additional skills which may benefit anyone considering a job as a plumber include :

  • Able to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • Knowledge of building and construction
  • Be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • Knowledge of maths
  • Able to work well with others
  • Able to use your initiative
  • Able to work well with your hands
  • Customer service skills
  • Able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
  • What does a plumber do?

    As a plumber you will be responsible for ensuring the movement of water or drainage in a property is functioning correctly.

    This could involve installing new systems, or repairing issues on existing pipes or systems.

    The job role of a plumber involves the following duties :

  • Installing hot and cold water, sanitation and drainage
  • Setting up rainwater harvesters and lead soakers
  • Installing central heating systems and domestic fuel-burning appliances using gas, oil or solid fuel
  • Designing water and heating systems
  • Cutting and joining pipes and fittings
  • Measuring or assessing sites to provide clients with an estimate
  • Servicing systems and fixing faults
  • Responding to emergency call-outs such as floods or boiler breakdowns
  • Working at a client’s home or business, often at height or in cramped conditions.
  • How much could you earn as a plumber?

    The expected salary for a plumber varies as you become more experienced.

  • Newly trained plumbers can earn in the region of £19,000 - £25,000
  • Trained with experience plumbers can earn in the region of £25,000 - £30,000
  • Senior / master crafts plumbers can earn in the region of £30,000 - £60,000
  • Self-employed plumbers set their own pay rates*
  • Hours and salaries depend on location, employer and any overtime you may do.

  • Salaries have been collected from multiple industry sources and have been updated as of 2019
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