Plumbing and Domestic Heating Technicians are in charge of all aspects of plumbing and heating systems, including planning, selection, installation, service, commissioning, and maintenance. Professionals in plumbing and domestic heating may work inside and outside the house. Customer service skills and being tidy and attentive are essential qualities since they often work in customers’ homes and on building sites.
As a trained Plumbing and Heating Technician, you will be responsible for precisely measuring, marking, cutting, bending, and connecting metallic and non-ferrous pipes. Examples of appliances and equipment include gas, oil, solid fuel boilers, pumps, heat emitters, bathroom furniture, and controls as part of cold water, hot water, central heating system, or above-ground drainage and rainwater systems.
Plumbing and home heating professionals are early adopters of cutting-edge environmental technology such as heat pumps, solar thermal systems, biomass boilers, and water recycling systems. A plumbing and heating professional must be able to work alone or as part of a team, utilising their knowledge and ability to ensure that the system and appliances are correctly selected and installed, sometimes without supervision, and in a safe, efficient, and cost-effective manner to minimise waste.
Throughout your apprenticeship, you may help:
- find out from the customer what the problem is
- give time and cost estimates for jobs
- install water, drainage and heating systems
- cut, shape and join pipes and fittings
- find and fix faults
- service gas and oil-fired central heating systems and radiators
- install or repair domestic appliances like showers and washing machines
- respond to emergency call-outs, like boiler breakdowns or blocked drains
- fit weather-proof materials, joints and flashings to roofs, chimneys and walls.
- Apprentice 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
You will typically work 37 to 40 hours per week, working evenings, weekends and bank holidays depending on customer demands.
You could work at a client’s home or at a client’s business.
Your working environment may be cramped, at height and outdoors some of the time.
Qualifications you can achieve as an apprentice plumber include:
- Level 3 Plumbing and Domestic Heating Technician – Entry requirements for this level include 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship. This qualification takes 48 months to complete.
On a plumbing apprenticeship, you’ll learn:
- the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
- knowledge of building and construction
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- knowledge of maths
- the ability to work well with others
- the ability to use your initiative
- the ability to work well with your hands
- customer service skills
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device.
Career path and progression
You may broaden your expertise by training in heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and renewable energy technologies like solar-powered heating.
You may also join the Gas Safe Register or get certified by the Oil Firing Technical Association (OFTEC). These would show your knowledge of gas and oil-fired appliances.
You might get a higher national certificate or degree and work as an engineer. This might lead to a job in building services engineering, estimating, or contract management.
You might also work as an apprentice or teach at a higher education institution.
More information on teaching in further education may be found at Teach in Further Education.