Thinking of becoming a plumber? Here's a preview of what an average working day might look like once you're qualified...

Plumber doing a job

Plumbers tend to rise early in the morning, often completing the first job of the day before the nation's office workers have even switched on their computers. But while those office workers will be chained to their desks for the next eight hours, a professional plumber gets to spend the day travelling around, tackling a variety of tasks in all sorts of different workplaces.

 

What jobs do plumbers do?

The jobs that make up a plumber's average working day depend (to an extent) on whether that plumber is self employed or employed by someone else.

 

Self-employed plumbers

If you've decided to set up your own business and be your own boss, you're free to pick and choose what jobs you take on. In all likelihood, domestic plumbing repairs and installations will form the majority of the work you do.

Common jobs include:

  • Stopping leaks and drips
  • Unclogging drains
  • Improving water pressure
  • Installing new pipework
  • Fitting bathrooms
  • Repairing boilers*

*Note that plumbers must be Gas Safe registered in order to work on gas boilers.

 

Plumbers employed by somebody else

If you are employed by a commercial plumbing company, your typical working day will probably look a little different from that of a self-employed domestic plumber.

Yes, there will still be plenty of leaks to fix and drains to unblock, but you may also find yourself...

  • Installing plumbing systems in new buildings
  • Maintaining large-scale water supply / waste removal systems
  • Carrying out work on public water mains

If you're not keen on the idea of spending lots of time in the van, zipping from one job to the next, then you might prefer a 'static' job that allows you to do all your work in one place. Many large businesses employ resident plumbers to carry out regular inspections and maintenance on the company's premises.

 

What hours do plumbers work?

Some plumbers work a standard nine-to-five, Monday-to-Friday week like everyone else. But there's a lot of extra money to be made if you're happy to work evenings and weekends. If your average customer is at work during the day, they'll probably want a plumber who is willing to pop by later on, when they're at home...or maybe on Saturday, when they've got the day off. And of course, some plumbing emergencies can't wait until the next weekday!

Self-employed plumbers have the freedom and the flexibility to choose their own timetable and work as many (or as few) hours as they wish. Plumbers in traditional employment usually - though not always - operate on a more rigid schedule. Both career paths have their benefits; once you've completed your training and got some professional plumbing qualifications under your belt, it will be up to you to decide which lifestyle suits you best.

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Further reading:

Man training for a career in electrical engineering

An electrical engineer is someone who designs electrical systems. This can mean anything from assisting with the construction of new homes to planning nationwide energy networks.

As you can probably imagine, this line of work demands a lot of expertise, but if you've got the right qualifications, a career in electrical engineering can be very lucrative indeed. According to payscale.com, the average salary for an electrical engineer in the UK is just over £32,000 per year - and some earn significantly more than that.

Electrical engineers are employed by all sorts of different industries, including:

  • Construction
  • Energy
  • Transport
  • Manufacturing
  • Defence

 

What's the Difference Between an Electrician and an Electrical Engineer?

While 'electrician' and 'electrical engineer' are often used interchangeably, they are - strictly speaking - two different professions. You wouldn't hire an electrical engineer to come and fix your oven, and most jobbing electricians aren't qualified to design large-scale electrical systems.

So what exactly is the difference? Well, this is something of an oversimplification (and there is a certain amount of overlap between the two roles) but broadly speaking, electrical engineers DESIGN the jobs that electricians then CARRY OUT. Think of the electrical engineer as a composer, and the electrician as a concert pianist; one writes the music, the other performs it.

 

How to Become an Electrical Engineer

If you simply want to work as a domestic electrician, you will need the following qualifications (which make up our Essential Electrical Course):

  • Part P Domestic Installer
  • 18th Edition Wiring Regulations
  • Building Regulations for Electrical Installations in Dwellings

If you want to pursue a career in electrical engineering, you will need to know how to design electrical systems. Our Electrical Design Course (which includes a Level 4 design and verification qualification) is recommended for candidates who already have some professional electrical experience under their belts.

Beginners who wish to forge a career in electrical engineering may be interested in our Premier Electrical Course - this comprehensive training package consists of eight different qualifications, covering everything from basic electrical theory all the way through to the design and verification of new installations. No prior knowledge or experience is required to enrol on this course.

View All Electrical Courses >

If you want to become an electrical engineer but you're not sure where to start, please contact Access Training Academies today - our course advisors will start you down the path to your new career.

 

The light at the end of the Covid tunnel is now perhaps within sight. A year of lockdowns, redundancies, economic struggle and suffering is possibly about to come to an end, with June 21st as our ticket out. But there is one, potentially long-lasting, victim: today’s youth.

Young people, along with women and those in the hospitality industry, have been among the hardest hit by the redundancies and unemployment crisis that this country has faced over the past year. It is predicted that, by the middle of 2021, the unemployment rate will be a dire 7.5%, with 4.7 million people furloughed. Three months before the end of 2020, when things were bad enough, the unemployment rate was only 5.1%. 

Even at the best of times, young people are some of the most vulnerable when it comes to the job market, and finding a secure career in this steadily worsening climate will be nigh-on impossible. Young people are typically the first to be fired, and last to be hired. They are often considered dispensable baggage, usually the ones with least experience, and as a result, most at risk of finding it difficult to gain employment. Crucial opportunities for work experience, which normally lead to growth in both experience and confidence, are now practically non-existent. We might find ourselves facing a generation of unprepared, uninspired young people, who rightfully feel hard done by: the unlucky Class of 2020.

But our youth need protection, and this potentially disastrous situation is avoidable. It is still possible to secure your future as a young person, and to do it with self-belief and pride in your profession. Fulfilling and honest work is not a thing of the past, and taking control of your future is still on the cards, even if it might currently seem like a mammoth task. You might be surprised to hear that, in fact, the ticket to the future is right on your doorstep.

Private training academies like Access Training offer the best possible route into the trade industry, and a prosperous career path. For young people who want to take control of their lives, provide themselves with a healthy and consistent income for decades to come, the next step should be a no-brainer. The trade industry is calling out for the next generation to offer their practical, problem-solving skills, and to serve the country for the forthcoming years of development. Boris Johnson calls for Britain to ‘Build Back Better’ – but without young people to ensure we get the job done, that might be a tall ask.

With a year of schools mostly closed, teaching severely limited, and opportunities to establish their future careers greatly suppressed, the impact on young people is likely to be wide-reaching, and indiscernible while we’re still in the eye of the storm. Not only has it impacted their future prospects, but no doubt their psychological state; it’s quite difficult to entertain optimistic plans for the future in the current situation, and ambitious dreams rarely bloom under the conditions of a pandemic. 

But with the right education, the right guidance, and awareness of the options available to young people, we can instill pride in the art of plying a trade, to promote the values and benefits of being your own boss, and of developing valuable practical skills that will serve young people, and their communities, for the rest of their lives. Let’s do our duty to the upcoming generation, and give them the opportunity for success and stability that could be so cruelly taken from them. Let’s consider it our responsibility to our young people, our communities, and the prosperity of our country. 





Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

‘Plumbing has sat at the heart of tackling the pandemic’ – Kevin Wellman, CEO of Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering

It’s World Plumbing Day on the 11th March. A day that, since 2010, has represented a celebration of the successes of an ever-thriving industry, where we consider how important plumbing is in today’s society, and why the plumbing industry is essential to us in our daily lives.

But World Plumbing Day in 2021 is, as we might expect, a different story to our previous celebrations over the last decade. This last year has seen plumbers face challenges like no other; they have been on the frontline of a worldwide pandemic, ensuring that our homes are safe and warm. And on this day, we should consider the importance of plumbers as we all battle through an ongoing global crisis.

But why exactly is plumbing so important to us? Why, for instance, have plumbers been awarded a ‘critical worker status’ over the course of the pandemic, awarding them particular benefits and protections as workers, and meaning that they are still able to work and continue to perform the vital services they always have done.

As Kevin Wellman, CEO of Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE), notes, plumbers take care of the most fundamental elements of our day-to-day lives, inside and outside our homes: ‘from the clean water, tapes and sinks we use to wash our hands, to the sanitation systems we use to help stop the spread of viruses and bacteria.

‘In this latest lockdown, PPE clad engineers have been the local heroes, fixing cold weather emergencies such as broken-down boilers and burst pipes, in very tough situations’. 

Plumbers, like many other frontline workers, have faced unprecedented challenges, and yet still have had to perform their jobs, use their skills to their utmost abilities, and persevere through the worst of it. Plumbers deserve to be called local heroes, because their sacrifices and successes have been unsung. Well, World Plumbing Day is the day to sing their praises.

Not only are we indebted to plumbers for keeping us warm and comfortable, but in keeping us safe and without injury. Our homes can become dangerous if not properly maintained, and Wellman informs us that ‘the number of hot water scalds and heating system related contact burns has grown at an alarming rate over the past year, due in a large part to the fact we are all spending a lot more time at home.’

We have more to thank plumbers for than we realise – and considering the obstacles that they have had to face over the last year, like many of us, it is all the more admirable that they have continued to work tirelessly to do their jobs. Facing financial and employment stress, issues with supply chains, needing to source PPE, and the risk of being made vulnerable to a deadly disease, plumbers have faced the challenges ahead with a brave face. 

Their roles are invaluable not only for homeowners, but thousands of businesses and all kinds of establishments throughout the country. And for that reason, the question of why plumbing is important has an obvious answer.

‘Our industry will have a huge role to play in supporting homeowners and businesses through a recovery, and those hero capes will be staying firmly in place for the foreseeable future’.

 

If you want to join the celebrations, there’s no better way to do so than in becoming a plumber yourself. Join the cause, and enquire about a training course today. 


Learn your trade. Get qualified. Make it happen.

"When I started, I had nothing. I put down my last £200 as a deposit, and I made that decision. You can never go wrong investing in yourself."

- Former plumbing student Leah Carney

Leah training for her new career as a plumber

Starting a new career - retraining and setting up your own business for the first time - is undoubtedly difficult. Not knowing the future can be stressful: will it work out? Am I making the right choice? Is now the right time to be doing this? Many unanswered questions, no firm solutions.

And as much as we might try to convince you that, yes, now is the right time, you might be more inclined to listen to those who have gone through the training process as students. To those who have come out the other side with a sparkling career ahead of them.

Leah Carney is a designer and former delivery driver who enrolled on one of our plumbing courses during the COVID-19 pandemic and never looked back. Our tutor Jamie caught up with Leah to find out how her new career was going.

 

Q: Hi Leah! Thanks for taking the time to speak today, I know you must be busy. How did your decision to retrain first come about?

Well, I was doing some delivery driving just to earn a bit of money, and to get myself through the COVID situation. But before that, I was doing design work - that's what my degree is in. And then I just decided to retrain; in the past, people have told me that I'd be really good at plumbing or gas, just because I'm good with my hands, I'm logical, a good problem solver, that sort of thing.

 

Q: And why Access Training in particular?

I just started googling and doing my research, and came across Access Training that way. I did ring a few places actually, but when I spoke to the team at Access Training, we just kind of got on. I then got invited to come and have a look at the centre and see the training in action, before actually putting any money down.

 

Q: What were your first impressions when you came?

Everything looked really good, everyone was working, and I was really impressed with the plumbing workshop that you've got there. And yeah, that's what made my decision. I signed up that day, there and then, and I think I started about a month and a half later.

 

Q: And the enrolment process was smooth?

Yeah it was, absolutely. Can't fault it.

 

Q: So obviously now you've moved on, and you're getting on with the online learning as well, so you're now able to redo the theory as many times as you want. How are you getting on with that? What sort of flexibility does that give you?

Do you know what? I think the online training is like a godsend. You're in a more relaxed environment, you're at home nine times out of ten, so you've got the time to sit down and fully concentrate. You can take breaks when you need to, you can go over and recap. I like to watch things; seeing things in action helps me to remember them, so if I'm reading something and I don't quite understand or I'm not quite getting it, I like to find a video of someone explaining it, and then I'll understand. So there's that benefit of it as well, because you can stop and start whenever you want.

 

Q: So it hasn't negatively impacted you, doing most of your training online?

No, not at all. You can do mock exams and different papers, and continue to do them until you get it right. Whereas when you're in a class, you only learn it once and then you leave. So again, I really like home-based learning; you still have to put the time in, but it definitely sticks in your mind more. I've enjoyed it.

 

Q: Do you think that helps you, when you come in for your practical training, the fact that your theory base is so much better?

Yes, because I reckon if you were to start with practical - or to sit your practical before your theory - you might get lost, trying to learn everything at once. So I think it's done the right way around. Then, when someone starts to explain more in depth, or uses a word you remember, you're able to ask questions there and then. So it definitely has a benefit.

 

Q: How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your training so far? I know you've already done additional training courses to add more strings to your bow. How have you found starting out in the industry, despite everything that's going on?

Fortunately for me, I have got a degree and other skills that I can always use - skills that actually do come in handy with my plumbing, because it is still based around homes and construction. But because I have been upskilling in areas I know will benefit me in the future, it looks good on the CV as well. And I may now be ahead of other people who've been doing it for ten years, because I've actually put my head down and said 'right, I need XYZ kind of trades behind me'. I'm doing my plumbing, and my Level 2 electrics, so that's really come in handy. Now I can apply for jobs that are based more around the Part P side, so I can get a bit more money from that, and I get a bit more hands-on in a different sense.

 

Q: With your new plumbing career, how are you finding it out there at the moment? There's obviously a lot of work around at the moment. Is that the case for you?

Definitely. There's a lot of work. Applying for a job isn't always straightforward, but the plumbing training definitely looks good on my CV. I have found that being a woman also gives me an edge, because I know there aren't many females in plumbing companies. I've found that with all my certificates and qualifications so far, employers are definitely interested. And it's given me the confidence to go out and do my own jobs privately as well.

 

Q: As I understand it, you're currently starting up a business on your own and having the best of both worlds, right? Do you feel like you've made the right decision by retraining and starting a new career?

Yeah, one hundred per cent. Retraining was definitely the best thing I ever did, and it was money well spent. At the time it probably doesn't feel like that, but if you put your head down and have a goal - a vision for where you want to be, and why you're doing it - then there'll be no stopping you. Because of the qualifications and the kind of practice you get with Access Training, you can absolutely go out there and be confident that you know what you're doing. I think especially as the government is pumping money into the trade industry, it looks like there's a long future in upskilling from where I am at the moment.

 

Q: So what's the next step in your career? You said you're moving into electrical work - where do you see that leading?

At the moment, I'm working on my brand, my logo and my website, and designing all of that. Because I have the skills to do it, I'm relying on myself to do all that. So that's the next step, plus maybe doing some emergency and weekend work.

 

Q: That's got to be quite exciting for you - to be developing all that stuff for yourself?

Yeah, it is. I mean, I've never opened a business, and for anyone to start out doing that, it's quite daunting. But I like to do my research and know what I'm doing, and kind of get my feet in there. So it's exciting, and I'm hoping that will kick off in the next couple of months, because I don't think there's a better time to do it than while we're in lockdown. There are more people staying at home, and they're doing more things to their houses, or they've got more time to have someone in to do work. And a lot of people I speak to have struggled to keep a good plumber or find someone they trust. I'd like to think that I have that kind of rapport with people; even if I don't know you, I'm always thinking of the customer and wanting to give the best possible service. I always explain what I'm doing, and that always pays off and works really well.

 

Q: And obviously, there are lots of resources on the Access Training portal to help you do all of that. You have contacts at the centre that you can still use, and your tutors can still help you once you've left.

Yeah, absolutely. I cannot fault anyone from the college at all - any time I've had a question or an email, they've always responded, even if it's a day or two later. They've always been so helpful. All the tutors, including yourself of course Jamie; I speak to Emma and the girls in the office; everyone's been helpful, and everything is transparent. There's nothing you don't know.

 

Q: I suppose the fact that we're still in touch proves your point!

Of course! And the great thing about that is that, if I explain my situation and tell you I need X, Y and Z, you can find a way to help that suits me. That's really been the forefront of it for me, to be honest: the fact that you really get to know the guys at the college. I imagine you go to other training centres, and once you've left, they think they don't need to know you. But with you guys, it's been a long time since I finished, and we're still in contact, as you say. I've come back now to do my electrical training and things like that - that's thanks to you guys.

 

Q: Finally, what kind of advice would you give to someone else looking to change careers right now - someone who's stuck in a rut? They might be on furlough or something, so how would they go about retraining?

I know there are people out there facing a really bad situation, and when I was looking to retrain, I was too. But I took the risk. I knew what I needed to do, and when I went with you guys, I used the last money I had to do it - and it was so worth it. All of you were so accommodating; if there were ever any issues, you guys helped. So my advice for anyone out there who's thinking about it is this: you just need to take that leap and do it. It's investing in yourself. You can never go wrong investing in yourself. Before you know it, if you put your head down, you could be ready to start before you realise.

 

Q: Thank you so much for your time, Leah, and best of luck for the future!

Thank you for everything!

* * *

And there you have it. You don't need to take our word for it - just look at Leah as an example of how retraining can change your life.

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