Nearly two thirds of plumbing businesses have apprentices in their workforce and these employers see apprenticeships as a vital lifeline to support the growing skills shortage in the industry. With so many unqualified people working in the industry, cowboy plumbers will have cost the UK £2.6 billion in recent years.
To become a plumber via the apprenticeship route it will take you approximately four years of training while gaining work place experience. Often taught on a day release with one day at college and the rest with your employer as you start to earn a real wage.
Read about a former plumbing apprentice who is now a lecturer here.
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You’re working in the plumbing industry and want to start your own business, supervise other plumbers within your current firm, or complete an apprenticeship to the highest level.
Four GCSEs at grade 4 including English and maths. You will need to be working with a plumber willing to employ you as an apprentice for the duration of your training, who is either Gas Safe Registered or Oftec Registered.
This four year course will allow you to work while learning about the plumbing industry, and at the same time aiming for a qualification in either natural gas or oil.
You will learn through a mix of practical and theory sessions, working up from the basics of materials, plumbing science, hot, cold, heating and sanitation systems, right through to complex system design and either Gas Safe or Oftec registration. As well as system design and installation, you will learn about building regulations relevant to the industry, study for your Water Regulations ticket, and work towards completion of your chosen fuel pathway.
To be through end of assessed through year knowledge and practical assessments and work-based assessments. To complete the qualification you will sit an end point assessment consisting of an online multiple choice test, a design project, two practical tests and a professional discussion.
Our plumbing students often win regional and national competitions such as the trade HiPEX competition.
Employment as a qualified plumber, on average with a starting salary of £15,000 to £20,000.
A range of specialist short professional courses to broaden your expertise such as our Installation of Solar Thermal Hot Water Systems Award, Installation of Heat Pump Systems or Water Harvesting to name but a few.
Careers in this industry
- Plumbing engineer
- Plumbing and heating engineer
- Plumbing and drainage engineer
- Plumbing sales
With additional training you may become OFTEC qualified and be able to work as a:
- Gas service technician
- Heating and ventilation engineer
Experienced plumbers can earn upwards of £40k a year and there is a current skills shortage with plenty of jobs available."
Alice Collard Self-employed Plumber
Alice always enjoyed practical study and when she finished school she went straight to college to study plumbing because she wanted to learn a good trade. In her second year she got a job with a plumber in Falmouth and this took her through her third and fourth years of college, where she gained multiple qualifications. After leaving college Alice was determined to give plumbing a go on her own and set-up her own plumbing and heating business.
“My job can involve anything from fixing a leaking tap to a full bathroom
refurbishment and I enjoy the variety, you never know what you’ll get
from day to day and it’s always a challenge.”
*Courses listed on this website are indicative of the subject, nature and level of study. The college reserves the right to alter specific qualifications titles, awarding bodies and levels of qualification, which can change in year. Any cost may also vary, based on personal funding eligibility. The Cornwall College Group reserves the right to withdraw any course listed at any time.