So..You Want to Be A Plumber?

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When you think of a plumber, what do you visualise?  Usually you would think of your stereotypical male. Well this is where you are wrong; plumbing is not just a career for men. Either way, choosing a plumber can be a huge task, and a lot of thought needs to be put into it. You can’t just choose the first person you find; you need to spend time getting quotes etc. When hiring a plumber you want nothing less than exceptional service, safety and you possibly may even prefer a woman’s touch.

Most plumbers work around 40 hours a week and sometimes have to work overtime to get a job done. If you fancy it, you could work for a 24 hour call-out service which would mean working evening, weekend and even bank holidays. Either way you will need to be covered by plumbers insurance. You may decide to set up your own business and be self-employed so that you can work whenever you want. It’s also essential to invest in the right equipment – as they say “a tradesperson is only as good as they tools they have” Not only will you want an impeccable tool belt with well kept and maintained tools, you will also need top of the range safety glasses to ensure any detritus and waste products are kept from your eye area and even comfort items such as a knee cushion.

Lorraine Dotchin worked as an IT manager two years ago for a law practice but has now changed her career path to running her own plumbing business at the age of 49! Lorraine Said: “I saw a point coming when I could have a career change, and I had some experience with installing the network infrastructure at the law firm’s building, which meant working with plumbers, electricians and plasterers. I always had an interest in plumbing. I’m not blazing a trail or anything. I knew there weren’t many women in plumbing, but that didn’t put me off because I knew I wanted to do it.”

Lorraine wanted to study plumbing at her local college but ended up in a long waiting list of people.  The workers at the college wanted Dotchin to wait six months and do a plumbing course and to begin with doing a ladies plumbing course for amateurs. The Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering thinks the reason there is a lack of skilled plumbers is because of the long waiting lists at colleges.

Lorraine eventually went to ‘New Career Skills’ in Southampton who did all the theoretical training alongside ‘. The courses offered flexible hours and she was able to complete it in six months rather than the usual two years.  Just like males, women can do courses and apprenticeships to become a plumber. It is a practical skill that requires someone who is physically fit. As a plumber, you service, fit and repair water pipes and heating systems in domestic and commercial environments. To become a plumber you will need a level 2 or 3 plumbing qualification but this all depends on what experience you have. You job will include many different roles depending on the job. If you become a plumber you will need to be able to read, follow and understand drawings and plans and you will need to have a keen eye for detail.

When plumbers first start work, they will earn between £16,000 and £21,000 a year. As your experience increases you will be earning between £21,000 and £35,000 per annum. The highest pay will be in London but rates vary all around.

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