There are several different routes that be taken to become a plumber,
but all these different routes still require you to undertake qualifications, to show that you are skilled in this trade and that you are competent enough to install boilers, gas fires and so on. There is no easy route; it does take time and effort to get those qualifications, but once you have them, you will have a really fabulous earning capacityto be able to earn a great deal of money.
Apprenticeships or rather serving an apprenticeship is a good way of starting out within the world of plumbing. However, many employers are really reluctant to take on plumbing apprentices, simply because they are viewed as being ‘hassle’. This is simply due to the fact that an apprentice is usually very young, will require a lot of mentoring and teaching and will be away at college at times, so they are somewhat intensive; or at least that can be the perception.
Adult trainees are usually older than apprentices and they have often worked in other trades or professions. They tend to be more preferred by employers because they are perceived to be more dedicated; they want to work in the trade and are more likely to persevere when things get tough; sometimes apprentices have a reputation for getting going when the going gets tough and then not coming back!
On the Job Training and Formal Qualifications to become a plumber:
Plumbers need to learn on the job and then demonstrate their knowledge through formal qualifications. There is no point learning the theory without being capable of putting it in to practice.
City and Guilds:
The City and Guilds route will require a 6129 Certificate in Basic Plumbing. This is often seen as the basic route into plumbing and can often be undertaken as an evening class. Many people see it as a way of starting out in plumbing and after you have done your City and Guilds, you will then do the NVQ, but in fact you can do a City & Guilds and then start out in plumbing. The choice is up to you.
An NVQ is a National Vocational Qualification. This ensures that the combination of work and theory based learning is just right. So the plumber will qualify when they reach a national standard of competency, demonstrated through college work and workplace tasks and assessments.
EAL offer a direct alternative to the City and Guilds certificate. This course is also widely available at colleges, so it can often boil down to what is available locally and which you think will suit you best; there is no right or wrong. Both are acceptable courses.
Accredited Certification Scheme: ACS
This will be a requirement if you are going to work with any type of gas installations and you will need this if you are going to be aiming for Gas Safe/CORGI registration.
Gas Safe/CORGI Approval:
You need to have Gas Safe/CORGI approval prior to undertaking any kind of gas fitting or servicing/installations etc. Gas Safe/CORGI check out your qualifications prior to issuing you with a certificate.
Part L of the Building Regulations requires installers that are fitting new boilers to have the City and Guilds 6084 certificate which proves that they are suitably qualified to meet Part L requirements.