Learning a trade can be a very profitable career move and can be great for your CV. But it can also be difficult to break into.
Jobulo talks to Michael Clark, Co-Director of KWC Heating and Plumbing, to find out some tips on how to become a Plumber.
What Made You Want to Become a Plumber?
I’ve always been quite a practical person so the decision to learn a trade seemed an obvious one for me. I was working as a Postman at the time and became more and more fed up with the early starts and lack of sleep so I decided to make the move into the world of plumbing and heating.
Is it Difficult to Get IntoThe Industry?
The best way to get into the trade is with an apprenticeship but these are very hard to come by. Instead I signed up for a plumbing course which meant I was going away for weekends while still working as a Postman. I was very fortunate that my dad is in the trade and agreed to take me on at a reduced wage once I had finished my basic training. Since then I haven’t looked back. I love my job and the remuneration can be really rewarding.
What Was Studying Like?
Training to be a Heating Engineer was hard work and meant spending weeks in London on courses and sitting exams combined with building up a practical portfolio of work that had to be signed off by a gas-safe registered engineer. It took me about 2 years to do the plumbing courses and a further year to gain the gas qualifications but there’s no substitute for learning on the job.
What’s a Working Day as a Plumber Like?
The nice thing about this line of work is that there is no typical day! One day you can be fitting under floor heating on a building site and the next day you’re servicing an old lady’s boiler, drinking tea and eating biscuits! It’s a very diverse job and can be quite flexible too, depending on who you work for.
What is The Best Thing About Being a Plumber?
The best thing about the job is the variety. It sounds cliché but when everyday is different you’ll never find yourself watching the clock. Having been a Postman I can appreciate the versatility of this job a lot more too. You also get to meet people from all walks of life and make friends and new business contacts along the way which is a bonus.
What’s the Most Difficult Part of the Job?
The only down side is if you choose to work for yourself it’s hard to get away from the phone. You are the boss, employee, secretary and accountant all rolled into one. Many evenings and weekends have been disturbed by customers wanting to chat about their plumbing issues and while I don’t mind, you need to be prepared for that to happen.
What Advice Would You Give to Someone Wanting To Work In This Trade?
I would say to anyone wanting to be a Plumber the best way is to look at getting an apprenticeship with a reputable company and learning the ropes with them. If this isn’t an option there are still many good courses available – with the CCN1 gas qualification being the best one to aim for. It just takes a bit of research and time. I would also say to be prepared to work hard, be on call a lot of the time and to spend your life crawling through lofts and under cupboards!