What skills do I need for a plumbing apprenticeship?

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Plumbing equipment

Are you a methodical problem-solver with great practical skills? A career as a plumber could be the right fit for you.

Plumbing is a highly skilled and in-demand profession. Plumbers play a really important role in keeping our houses, towns and cities running properly. There are very good job prospects, and you could even go on to run your own business.

The best way to get started in the trade is by doing an apprenticeship. In this guide, we’ll look at plumbing and heating apprenticeships, and the skills you’ll need to be the person plumbing companies looking for apprentices want.

What does a plumber do?

Plumbers put in, look after and fix the plumbing inside and outside buildings. They

A plumber fixes a machine
Plumbers install everything from baths and sinks to solar
water heating and underfloor heating

install sanitation systems, fix home boilers, lay underground drainage pipes and work with new environmentally friendly equipment like rain water harvesting and solar water heating.

They work in lots of different environments, including construction sites, homes and offices. Plumbing is a key part of the construction industry.

What are plumbing apprenticeships?

There are two types of plumbing apprenticeships (you’ll also see them referred to as plumbing and heating apprenticeships): intermediate and advanced level.

As a plumbing apprentice you’ll develop technical abilities as well as useful workplace skills like teamwork and communication. You’ll also work towards a professional qualification and earn a salary at the same time.

Plumbing apprentices are taught how to install and maintain different plumbing systems and equipment. You would then work on your own initiative, installing hot water, cold water, sanitation, drainage and central heating.

If you’re on the advanced level apprenticeship, you’d gain more technical skills, allowing you to get a job at a higher level after the apprenticeship.

Depending on the apprenticeship, you would work towards the NVQ Level 2 or Level 3 in Plumbing, as well as the Plumbing Technical Certificate.

Hear from plumbing apprentice Callum:

What exactly would I do during plumbing and heating apprenticeships?

Plumbing companies looking for apprentices will expect you to take on the following tasks:

  • Learn about health and safety rules.
  • Prepare site areas, for instance lifting floor boards.
  • Learn how to install domestic (ie in people’s homes) plumbing and heating systems.
  • Install and refit bathrooms and showers. You might learn how to tile walls and floors.
  • Learn how to install cookers.
  • Learn how underfloor heating works.
  • Do emergency repairs on pipes and loft tanks.
  • Keep a clean and tidy working environment.
  • Help repair hot and cold water, and sanitation systems.
  • Build working relationships with your colleagues.
  • Read building and engineering drawings.
  • Learn about heating systems.
  • Investigate problems and come up with solutions.
  • Fix leaks and broken equipment and systems.
  • Write reports.
  • Fitting dishwashers.
  • Clearing blocked pipes.
  • Working with customers to give them quotes (costs for different jobs).

Learn more about plumbing apprenticeships:

What skills do I need to apply?

We researched plumbing companies looking for apprentices, and found that they want the following skills:

  • Practical and good with your hands.
  • Reliable, dependable and trust-worthy.
  • Excellent problem-solving skills.
  • Flexible and able to adapt to different situations.
  • Positive attitude and willing to learn.
  • Able to follow instructions.
  • Methodical approach and very good attention to detail.
  • Brilliant communication skills.
  • Able to work at height and has normal colour vision.
  • Physically fit – the job can be demanding and tiring.
  • Polite, punctual and well-organised.

List of plumbing companies looking for apprentices

According to Find An Apprenticeship, here are some of the plumbing companies looking for apprentices in June 2018:

  • LH Plumbing & Heating Services
  • Azztec Plumbing & Heating
  • Tony Clifford Pullin
  • Barry Frampton
  • Renelec
  • Woodford Heating & Plumbing
  • Paul Chisom Plumbing & Heating

Improve your chances of being the candidate plumbing companies looking for apprentices want by checking out our employability skills section.

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Image credits

Plumber via Wikimedia 


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