A plumber uses a variety of tools to install and repair all forms of piping, drainage and central heating systems, both indoors and out. They also install appliances such as gas cookers and fires. They work in commercial and residential buildings.
You could be:
reading design plans to install new piping, tanks and valves throughout a building under construction
removing old and putting in new bathroom fitments in an occupied building
diagnosing faults in hot and cold water pipes, central heating systems, waste disposal and sanitation systems
SNIPEF do not employ apprentices or place them with an employer. You must find an employer willing to take you on as a plumbing apprentice. A few local authorities, including Glasgow, run their own apprenticeship schemes.
To get into a Modern Apprenticeship in plumbing you need a minimum of 4 subjects at National 4 or 5, preferably including English, Maths and a technological subject.
You could study the Foundation Apprenticeship in Construction (SCQF Level 4 or 5) in S3-S6, which can help to get into a relevant Modern Apprenticeship.
You will have to pass a selection test as part of the application process.
A driving licence is useful and often essential.
You should be physically fit and may need normal colour vision.
To work on a building site you must get a SNIJIB CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) card. You must pass a health and safety test to qualify for this scheme.
Look for a job with private firms, local authorities, gas companies and the chemical industry.
What Does it Take?
You need to have:
practical skills and an aptitude for working with your hands
the ability to solve problems
reliability and honesty
a pleasant manner with the public
a willingness to carry out unpleasant tasks
health and safety awareness
a good head for heights
physical strength to carry metal piping and other materials.
You need to be able to:
read technical drawings and plans
work carefully and methodically
work alone or as part of a team with other craftspeople.
Training during an apprenticeship is mainly on the job with off the job training at college. You would work towards SVQ Plumbing and Heating at SCQF Level 7.
To work with gas appliances you must be registered with the Gas Safe Register. You can get more information on the website: www.gassaferegister.co.uk
Once you have qualified, you can apply for the SNIJIB Plumbers Grading Card which will give you professional recognition to work in the plumbing industry.
With experience, you can move on to a supervisory job.
You might move into management.
Like many plumbers, you might become self-employed.