Want to get into the plumbing and heating industry but don’t know where to start? Whether you’re leaving school or want a complete career change, and no matter how old you are, before you start exploring your training options there are two very important things to consider:
There are no quick fixes to becoming qualified:
It takes around four years to become fully qualified if you have no prior experience in the industry. You may see adverts for intensive packages where knowledge courses are condensed into a few weeks or months.
These may seem attractive, but we strongly recommend caution. Packages such as these are unlikely to allow you to properly embed the learning and knowledge and will only take you part of the way.
You’ll need to choose the right training course – not all give you the skills needed:
You cannot become a qualified plumbing and heating engineer without real work experience. Practising in a college or training centre is a lot different to working on-site, or in somebody’s home. In the real world there are a lot more variables and problems that you would never experience in a training scenario.
There are also the added pressures of time constraints and the potential of making mistakes, that can be a lot more costly when they happen in a real working environment.
So, it’s important that you work with an experienced and fully qualified tradesperson, while building your confidence and learning how to deal with problems when they arise.
TAKE OUR ADVICE – IN THREE EASY STEPS
To help you make an informed decision about your training path, take a look at our advice on which qualifications and training you need, and how to stay on the right track:
Read more about the Qualifications you’ll need to become a qualified plumber
Take a look at our tips on Choosing a Training Provider
Beware of the Warning Signs which could take you down the wrong path
Step 1: What Qualifications or Training Do I Need?
If you want to become a qualified plumbing and heating engineer, you’ll ultimately need to gain the industry’s recognised competence-based qualification. This is:
- Level 3 Diploma in Plumbing and Domestic Heating (in England)
- In Scotland: Plumbing & Heating SVQ Level 3 (SCQF 7)
- In Wales: Building Services Engineering – Plumbing & Heating Level 3 (available from Sept 2022)
The Plumbing & Domestic Heating Technician apprenticeship is the recognised route into the industry to become fully qualified. If you’re completely new to the industry it should take around four years to complete.
If you’ve already had some experience in the industry, you may be able to complete the apprenticeship in a shorter amount of time.
Step 2: Tips for choosing a Training Provider
To help you gain the proper qualifications you’ll need a reputable training provider who can give you clear and honest advice.
Whilst there are many good training providers out there, unfortunately some may be more concerned about financial gain than helping you on the right track.
Take a look at our advice and guidance on what to look for and questions to ask when researching plumbing and heating courses:
Step 3: Beware of the warning signs
There are some obvious red flags that you should be aware of before you commit to any training. If your training provider shows any signs highlighted below – think carefully before you proceed.
We hope you found this information useful. Good luck in your training and career journey into the plumbing and heating industry!