Plumbing Career

13 Aug 2004
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United Kingdom
I hope someone can help.

At the present moment I'm a programme manager but want to change my career. I have always liked plumbing and have recently started night classes in plumbing.

I'm looking for some guidence regarding the qualifications needed to become a qualified plumber.

I know that the standards are NVQ level 2 & 3, however to get these you need to be employed in the trade, however there is an opportunity to gain a NC in plumbing which is almost the same as NVQ level 2, but not on the job.

I can't give up my job at present to pursue the full time qualifications so I was wondering if anyone new of any online courses that would give me a better understanding of plumbing and bring me up to speed quicker before I leave my work and move on to plumbing.

Thanks for your help

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.......I have always liked plumbing .......

WHY PLUMBING? what's so magical about pipes with water in them? what's the attraction? (unless it's money). If it's money forget it, there's not as much as the newspapers say, and the best way to hate a hobby is to get a job doing it. that would give me a better understanding of plumbing and bring me up to speed quicker.......

Read books, but this acedemic approach is not much use, you need hands on, and a practical approach. Why are you a program manager?
totally agree with oilman

it seems to mean that employers are getting less impressed with NVQ's and more with hands on experience

this is probably due to every tom, dick and harry whacking themselves on a college course and fitting it in with their current job.

The real idea of nvq is as it says, national VOCATIONAL qualification, so the majority of the modules are done on site and college is only really for stuff you rarely if ever come across in the work place.

The only way really to become a plumber is to find a firm willing to take you on as a trainee and give you the experience you need to undertake the job with competence and confidence.

It seems to me none of the career change bods are willing to take a drastic cut in pay to do this and believe that one day a week or a couple of evenings a week is enough to get on the tools. My opinion is that they are sadly mistake and are setting themselves up for major disappointment.
I agree with what you are saying and understand the point you are trying to make. I do not expect to to become a competent plumber merely by attending college or evening classes, however as corgiman correctly pointed out in order to change career you will need to take a drastic pay cut. I believe that to go forward on this occasion I will have to seek out an employer and take a wage cut, i'm not scared to do this as this profession is the one I have chosen pursue, however I am trying to minimise the skills gap if possible. The opportunity to gain theoretical knowledge and experience some hands on work through college would allow me the time to finalise everything before taking the jump and leaving my current job. I understand the purpose behind the SVQ and agree with them, I know that this will be the route I will take and is one of the reasons why I posted the question in the first place, I just wanted to make sure and check if there was any other available routes. Thanks for the reality check. :LOL:
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my 2 p worth

it doesnt matter what trade anyone wants to do, you can get nvq, qvm and a qvc membership (ive got one of those), just because you have a piece of paper does not mean you can actually do the job, in my view the only way to learn a trade is to do an aprenticeship, start off at the bottom, and work your way up.

Wage cut is an understatement, a couple of month asgo i found out how much this "aprentice" (nothing to do with me) was getting, I thought it fair for his age, but some one changing trades could not live on what he was getting
well as a plumber with plenty of paper ie c&g/corgi/acs/hvacr/etcetc i am getting the hell out of the industry and taking a pay cut because too many fools entering it who mistakenly think easy money well i can assure you its dirty,smelly uncomfortably,with too many overheads ie van/tools/insurance/corgi/retraining costs acs/waste licence/public liability,loss of personal time due to giving estimates,site surveys etc.but if it is what you want to do good luck and enjoy :LOL:
Blimey ain't we plumbers moaners :LOL:

I have been guilty of "putting down" my chosen trade but there are benefits to being a plumber such as

1. There can be an enormous sense of satisfaction when you sort out a
difficult job.
2. Generally the general public are unbelievably pleased to see you
when they have had a leak, their central heating has packed up etc.
3. The wages can, after a time, pay the bills, as my ol'dad used to say
"you are too busy earning a living to make money but at least you're
earning a living"
4. People always need good plumbers.
5. Its a hugely dynamic industry, it can be a pain keeping up but I
find it exilarating as well.
6. You do get to meet loads of different types of people, and get to nose
around their houses, that always gives me ideas for DIY in my house.

I, generally, am very glad to have become a plumber and have never been out of work, out of pocket many many times but never work.

The main problem is that it seems to be the case that everyone thinks that plumber is a bit of a know nuffin trade that one can learn in a weekend and it sooooo is not.

Come on every body what is GOOD about being a plum........ber

corgiman i suppose i am moaning a bit renewed acs recently had a run of awkward customers recently but over the years you do get hacked off but as you say job satisfaction it is hard to beat especially when you are the 3rd,4th plumber at the job and you get it working lovely or when the customer has a relative/friend who has a go and makes a pigs ear of it 10mins later its working fine not that i would gloat[much] thanks you made me think a bit,through i am still leaving the industry
Thank god for that. At the beginning of the post I was pretty motivated and hoped that I would be able to make a career out of plumbing (plumbing is a career not just a service), however the first few post certainly put a downturn on my plans. I thank you for your replies and understand that it's not going to be easy, i'm not sure how many people have placed a post like this before so my apologies if you have heard it all before. Like corgiman says surely there is an upside because i'm prepared to bet my future on it (more fool me they all say)


corgiman said:
Come on every body what is GOOD about being a plum........ber
1, Having tea with somebody else housewife ? ;)

2, Housewife find you attractive even though you might be ugly :LOL:

3, Once you've sorted out their plumbing problem, they can't wait to get rid of you :LOL:

4, Is there any more ????
leaving the industry bripl?where you gonna something lucrative lined up :eek: local sandwhich factory wants recruits(must have nimble fingers,the ability to work at speed,mus'nt have sarnie phobia and likes work)£5 an hour,shifts to suit immediate starts.sounds tempting does'nt it?why did i become a plumber? :eek: :eek: :eek:
The last post got me thinking "why did I become a plumber"

Well it was my old mans fault.

I had done very well at O and A levels and got my self a place at uni but my ol'man did not have a clue about Uni so asked me to "get a trade boy" so that he could rest easy that he had done right by me.

Like a pillock I agreed and prenticed to him and my Bro in law (also a plumber)

By the time I banged out i was on a tidy whack and the thought of going skint at uni lost all its appeal.

I hate to dishearten michael but if I had my time again the LAST thing I would be is a plumber, for the most part I have hated it. But saying that it has put a roof over my families head, is raising two wonderful kids and, very occasionally, I get a holiday

What more could a man ask for? (other than the usual that is ;) )
Don't forget the good feeling when you have worked hard, done a good job and everything is spot on and the customer doesn't pay. I have had 2 this week alone. 1 guy owns 42 launderettes and we did his heating system but he denies receiving our invoices?

Anyone wanna swap? work all week and have nothing to show but invoices and bills?

The grass is always greener!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
been there done that got the t shirt and the overdraft to prove it :D
I think we all have

but I think thats a problem with being self employed rather than a unique plumber problem

I think are new plumber is going down the employed route (thats if he has a lick of sense that is) so that will be NHP (not his problem)

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