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essential plumbing tools

Every trade has its own set of specialist tools and equipment that's used to complete some very specific jobs. You can guarantee that an electrician's toolbox is going to look different to a plumbers toolbox, but what is all that specialist equipment and what does it do?

Well whether you're just curious or you're keen to start your plumbing training ahead of schedule, we'll talk you through the essential plumbing tools here.

 

Wrenches

wrenches

Plumbers would really struggle to do their job without the humble wrench, and you'll find wrenches of all shapes and sizes in a plumber's toolkit.

The wrenches you see above are often called pipe wrenches because they're able to wrap around and grip tightly onto pipes of varying lengths and sizes. Plumbers usually reserve these heavy-duty wrenches for pipes made of metal as they would potentially cause damage to more fragile pipework.

Other common wrench types include basin wrenches (with a long handle for reaching behind sinks), faucet valve-seat wrenches (for old stubborn seals) and allen wrenches (for securing or loosening a range of plumbing fastenings).

 

Pliers

pliers

Pliers are a common feature of a lot of toolkits, but they can be particularly useful for plumbers because they're so versatile and can be adjusted to any size! Perfect if you need a good grip on a particular pipe while you unscrew a seized fastening or attach a new fitting. 

Rib-joint pliers are also great for getting a grip on small nuts, bolts and pipes because of their small yet strong jaws. Plumbers have to be careful when using pliers not to maw the pipe or fitting they're working on!

 

Plunger

plunger

The humble plunger - probably one of the first things that springs to mind when you think of a plumbers toolbox, right? There are very few other professions that are required to use a plunger, so this is really a piece of equipment that's iconic of the plumbing trade! If you've ever used one yourself, you know what they're for!

Applied over a sink or drain hole, plungers can suck up and help you remove any debris that's causing a blockage. They come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, and there's bound to be at least one in every plumber's toolbox.

 

Hose Cutter

When plumbers are fitting bathrooms or kitchens they're required to use metres and metres of piping. Often, piping comes on large reels like the ones you see above, so of course, plumbers need a pipe cutter to hand!

Having a sharp pair of hose cutters to hand is paramount if plumbers want to ensure a leak-free clean edge. Pipe cutters can also be used to cut perfect shapes into copper hosing when necessary. 

 

 Soldering Tools

soldering

Often plumbers will need to join copper pipes to fix your sink or fit your new bathroom. With that in mind, it's possible that you'll see a portable soldering kit in and amongst the plumbing toolbox.

This could include a range of things such as a soldering torch, a fire-resistant cloth, solder, flux, and a striker. Having this equipment handy and being able to use it safely can be incredibly beneficial, particularly if you run your own plumbing business and are required to travel frequently for work.

So, this gives you an insight into the kinds of tools that plumbers use! To become a real expert on all things plumbing, why not consider signing up for one of our plumbing training courses?

Become a Plumber >

After an intensive three-day practical, promising young plumber, Connor Cruden, has been named the SkillPLUMB champion for 2019 at the WorldSkills UK LIVE event in Birmingham.

Runners up included 21-year-old Kyle McGeoghie of Perth College UHI and 22-year-old Anthony Iacovazzo of City College Norwich, who achieved second and third place respectively.

 

trophies, skillplumb champion

 

Boiling Point

While the plumbing trade probably isn’t the first industry that springs to mind when you think of awards, honours and prizes, it’s that fact that makes the SkillPLUMB gong all the more prestigious in the world of professional plumbing.

Primarily aimed at apprentices and young tradespeople, finalists were tasked with completing a number of tricky practical assessments in order to test their skills and separate the best from the rest.

As part of the final trial, contestants were asked to install a sealed domestic central heating system with expansion vessel, pump and ancillary equipment. This included a radiator, unvented hot water cylinder and a boiler, along with the relevant copper pipework.

To further add to the intense pressure of this demanding task, all of this was to be completed under strict time constraints and ultimately scrutinised by expert judges against a challenging criterion.

Beating out competition from other regional finalists, Cruden will now be given the opportunity to compete in the Grundfos Installer Championship in Milan in March of next year.

 

Role Models

In addition to booking his place in the 2020 Grundfos Installer Championship in Italy, Cruden’s win also puts him into contention to be part of Team UK at the global WorldSkills 2021 competition in Shanghai, China.

Following the triumph, Cruden had these words to say:

“The competition has been brilliant and I am really proud to be leaving with the gold medal. It was really challenging working under pressure but I just did my best.”

Chairman of the British Plumbing Employers Council also spoke of the victory:

“The standard of work this year has been exceptional. The finalists are all excellent ambassadors for the industry and brilliant role models for other young people who are considering a plumbing career.”

 

Become a World-Class Plumber with Access Training UK

While such an achievement may seem out of reach for anyone thinking of entering the world of plumbing, it’s important to remember that every journey begins with that single first step.

At Access Training UK, we can help you achieve that first step and help you come on leaps and bounds with our wide variety of plumbing courses.

Whether you’re a complete novice or an experienced pro looking to add to your repertoire of skills, Access Training UK has the plumbing course for you.

Read on for a quick rundown of the various plumbing courses we have on offer at ATUK:

 

Essential Plumbing Course

Learn the basics needed to become a domestic plumber (no experience required).

 

Professional Plumbing Course

A comprehensive course to become a fully-qualified plumber (no experience required).

 

Premier Plumbing Course

Combined course allowing you to earn plumbing and gas qualifications simultaneously (no experience required).

 

Bathroom Fitting Course

This course will equip you with all the skills and knowledge needed to install bathrooms (no experience required).

 

Unvented Hot Water Storage Systems

If you’re already a plumber or heating engineer, this course teaches you how to install and maintain unvented hot water storage systems

 

WRAS - Water Regulations Advisory Scheme

Completion of this course provides you with ‘approved contractor’ status by your local water authority- a pre-requisite for many employers.

 

NVQ Level 2 Certification – For Experienced Site Plumbers

This fast-track NVQ programme is designed for experienced plumbers looking to gain NVQ Level 2 Diploma quickly with minimal fuss.

 

For more information on any of the plumbing training courses available at Access Training UK, why not drop us a line today? Call now on 0800 345 7492 or click the button below to get in touch online.

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Research conducted by the Water Regulation Advisory Scheme has uncovered some startling statistics that could land the UK in deep water.

 

leaking tap, water wastage 

 

Leaking Information

According to the WRAS survey, over a quarter of Brits would wait over a week to fix a dripping tap, equating to almost 170 litres of water.

Meanwhile, over a fifth of all Brits would wait more than four days to address a leaking toilet, with the collective potential to waste between 215 and 400 litres a day, with a median of 72 litres per toilet a day.

Not only can this unnecessary water wastage see your water bills creep up needlessly, it can also have a potentially damaging effect on the population and the environment.

 

Down the Pan

It’s estimated that the UK wastes approximately 400 million litres of water every day as a result of leaking toilets. To put that into context, that’s enough to cover Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield and Liverpool combined.

Naturally, the sheer scale of this wastage is a concerning issue, made all the more concerning following Defra’s recent findings on population density.

 

Environmental Impact

According to Defra, the population density in the UK means that there is less available water per person than in many Mediterranean countries. As a result, effectively managing the water supply is all the more vital.

WRAS Managing Director, Julie Spinks, had this to say:

“We all have a duty to use water more wisely and consider the impact we have on the environment. When a plumbing problem first arises, a quick call to a local approved plumber can not only give you peace of mind but also help ease the burden on the environment.”

 

A Quick Fix

According to Waterwise, around 70% of leaking toilets can be fixed by a plumber on the very first visit, saving a considerable amount of water if caught early on.

Waterwise has made their stance on water wastage and unfixed leaks well-documented, once again highlighting the importance of plumbing maintenance in the home.

With a national campaign planned to raise awareness of water wastage, the already high value of plumbing professionals only looks to get stronger as the years progress, making it a safe and lucrative trade to become a part of.

 

Plumbing Training

If you’re looking to enter the plumbing trade, Access Training UK has a whole host of courses available to help you get started.

Meanwhile, we also have a range of courses specifically designed for existing plumbers to help more experienced tradesmen and women grow and progress on their professional journeys.

Check out the plumbing courses below to see the full list of what we have on offer at Access Training UK:

 

For more information on plumber courses and plumbing training at Access Training UK, why not drop us a line today? Call now on 0800 345 7492 or get in touch online by clicking the link below.

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British builders’ merchant, Travis Perkins, has put plans to sell their plumbing and heating business on hold, citing the uncertainty of Brexit as a deciding factor.

The move comes amid a strategic run of cost-cutting by the firm and a conscious move simplify their overall portfolio.

However, the impending precariousness of the economic climate in the UK has evidently caused the FTSE 250 company to alter their game plan in favour of a more prudent approach.

 

plumbing news, business sale

 

Still on Course

Despite halting their plans to sell the plumbing and heating arm of the business, Travis Perkins is said to remain on course to achieve their cost reductions for 2019.

A statement from Travis Perkins confirmed that the upshot of these reductions would allow the company to “reduce complexity, lower the above-branch cost base and speed up decision making, and improve service levels for customers”.

 

Award-Winning Businesses

Travis Perkins had originally announced the sale plans in December 2018 with a likely deal announced by their board in July. However, it appears those plans have since fallen through and the plumbing and heating business appears set to remain under the Travis Perkins umbrella indefinitely.

The division includes the likes of FPC wholesale, PTS Plumbing Trade Supplies and plumbing merchant City Plumbing Supplies, the latter of which was awarded the title of “Heating & Plumbing Merchant of the Year” at the Builders' Merchants Awards for Excellence 2018.

 

Learn a Trade with Access Training UK

With the current political outlook for the UK described by Travis Perkins as posing “unprecedented level of uncertainty”, the move to future-proof careers has never been more timely.

Luckily, for those in the plumbing and heating trade, theirs is a vital service necessary for daily life and, as a result is one profession that is unlikely to be affected too severely.

What’s more, a shortage of skilled workers in this area has actually made it a very lucrative career path in recent years and one that is unlikely to be too seriously affected by a political shift.

At Access Training UK, we offer a variety of plumbing and heating courses for anyone looking to make the jump into this trade.

Whether you’re a total newbie with no prior knowledge or a seasoned veteran looking to sharpen your skills, we have the course for you.

To find out more about our range of gas and plumbing courses, click one of the links below for more information.

 

Gas Courses                                 Plumbing Courses

 

If you would like to know more about switching careers or upskilling with Access Training UK, why not drop us a line today? Call now on 0800 345 7492 or get in touch online by clicking the button below.

Contact Us

Returning for its fifth year, the UK Plumber of the Year competition will reach its climax next month, as a new king is crowned.

A joint venture of JT, Bristan and Wolseley UK, the competition has grown in popularity year-on-year since its launch in 2015.

This year was no different with applicants from across the UK throwing their hat into the ring with hopes of becoming Plumber of the Year.

 

plumber of the year, plumber of the year 2019

 

The Final Countdown

From an original shortlist of 10 candidates, the field has been whittled down to just five remaining finalists as a result of a public vote.

The final five include:

  • Christopher Clare – Newton-Le-Willows, Merseyside
  • Paul Clark – The Wirral, Merseyside
  • Caine Curtis – Yeovil, Somerset
  • Dan Tempest – Pontefract, West Yorkshire
  • Martin Warnes – Harwich, Essex

The five nominees will now go on to the grand finale, set to take place next month.

 

A Hot Pot

This year’s Plumber of the Year prize pot consists of a variety of industry perks, including £2000 worth of items from JT, £2000 worth of vouchers to be spent at Wolseley and £1000 worth of products from Bristan.

Bristan is also throwing in their new Rapid 4in-1 Boiling Water Tap and, yes, they’re even including the kitchen sink – quite literally.

The top prize also features a variety of other perks, from Apple products courtesy of Vendigo Finance to a beer-centric getaway from Cornwall’s Proper Job beer.

 

A New King

Last year’s final was won by Steve Bartin from Taunton, who walked away with the title and his part of a prize pot totalling £10,000.

Speaking at the time, Bartin said: “It’s an honour to call myself the UK Plumber of the Year. I’ve been in the industry for 23 years and I feel like all those extra hours and dedication have paid off.”

In one month’s time, that honour will fall to a new plumbing king when one of the final five is crowned the 2019 winner.

 

Pipe Dreams

The Plumber of the Year award is a great way to recognise trade excellence and for the plumbers themselves to gain some well-deserved recognition from industry and public alike.

Many of these finalists and past winners will have started out with little to no experience at all yet, through heart, drive and determination, have made it to the top of the trade.

If you are looking to start your journey into the world of plumbing or simply looking to sharpen your skills and add a few strings to your bow, why not take a plumbing course with Access Training UK?

Our wide range of courses caters to all experience levels, with each one designed to help you learn and grow into a better plumber and skilled professional.

Who knows, in a few years’ time, you too could find yourself in the finals of the Plumber of the Year! Every journey starts with a single step, so make yours now with Access Training UK.

 

For more information on plumbing courses from Access Training UK, call now on 0800 345 7492 or get in touch online using the link below.

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The summer of 2019 has seen business heat up for self-employed electricians and plumbers across the UK, according to new figures published by Hudson Contract Services Ltd.

Statistics provided by the construction industry payroll experts show that self-employed plumbers and electricians have both seen a rise in pay over the summer months.

This increase builds on an existing trend that has seen plumbers and electricians solidify their status in the top three best paying jobs of all the construction trades covered by Hudson Contract.

 

plumbing courses, electrician courses, self-employed plumbers, self-employed electricians

 

Shock Stats for Electricians

Over the course of June and July 2019, self-employed electricians have seen a 6.4 and 1.1% month-on-month rise in weekly pay.

Managing Director of Hudson Contract, Ian Anfield, had this to say:

“This is an attractive reward for young people who want to learn the trade, be their own boss and enjoy the returns of being a valued supplier. Looking ahead, pent-up demand for new housing and the necessary wiring work will ensure that demand remains strong for skilled electricians.”

 

Plumbing Wages on the Boil

The month-on-month boost was mirrored in the plumbing profession with a 4.7% increase in June, followed by a further 0.6% increase in July.

The Hudson Contract MD added:

“Plumbers are earning the equivalent of an annual salary of more than £59,000, putting them into the top 6% of households by income. Our analysis shows these skilled freelancers are earning a premium for their valuable services and are a world away from ‘gig economy’ workers.”

 

Plumbing Courses and Electrician Courses

With such attractive financial potential, both the plumbing trade and electrical trade offer attractive propositions for those looking to start their careers or change the direction of their working lives.

At Access Training UK, we offer a variety of courses in both fields, designed to help learners of all skill-levels and experience to further their journey in their chosen profession. If you are interested in becoming an electrician or learning the plumbing trade, we can help get you on the right track.

To find out more about the exciting worlds of the plumbing and electrical trades, click on the buttons below and start your journey today. 

Plumbing Courses

Electrician Courses

 

For more information on plumbing and electrician courses with Access Training UK, why not drop us a line and speak with one of our expert advisors? Call now on 0800 345 7492 or get in touch online by clicking the link below.

Contact Us

30-year-old Carly Gayle from Crewe recently made headlines after being dubbed 'The UK's Sexiest Plumber'. Her story (which was picked up by The Sun, the Daily Star and the Daily Mail, among others) highlighted the plight faced by women trying to make it in the male-dominated world of plumbing.

Female Plumbers

"Where's the man?"

Carly, a fifteen-year veteran of the plumbing trade, is often asked "where's the man?" when she arrives on-site for a job. Sadly, it's a line that lots of tradeswomen are familiar with, and it goes to show that many members of the public still hold very stereotypical views about what a plumber looks like.

While Carly did go on to mention that she has used that dismissive comment as fuel to help her succeed, her story does bring to light the hardships faced by female plumbers in the UK and the uphill battle they often endure.

 

Get Girls Plumbing

Another familiar element of this story is the fact that Carly was one of only two women on a plumbing course of 200. In fact, according to industry experts WaterSafe, less than 1% of all UK plumbers are female.

As a result of this stat, WaterSafe launched their 'Get Girls Plumbing' campaign back in 2014, aiming to promote the trade to female school leavers and women looking for a career change.

While the campaign has barely moved the needle in terms of overall figures, there's undoubtedly a market for female plumbers in the UK. In fact, WaterSafe also reported that 31% of women would prefer a female plumber to carry out work in their homes.

All-female companies have begun to spring up in a variety of male-dominated industries, from moving companies to taxi services. In fact, for many of these businesses, it's become a unique and lucrative selling point.

Gender equality is a hot topic in 21st-century Britain, and there's never been a better time for women to dive into the world of plumbing.

 

Our Plumbing Courses

Regardless of gender, plumbing is a great skill to have and an even better career to jump into. Careers in plumbing are well-paid, challenging and always in demand.

Luckily, here at Access Training UK, we have a wide variety of plumbing courses that offer both men and women the chance to learn a trade, switch careers, and change their lives for the better.

 

Essential Plumbing Course

Learn the basics needed to become a domestic plumber (no experience required).

 

Professional Plumbing Course

A comprehensive course to help you become a fully-qualified plumber (no experience required).

 

Premier Plumbing Course

Combined course allowing you to earn plumbing and gas qualifications simultaneously (no experience required).

 

Bathroom Fitting Course

This course will equip you with all the skills and knowledge needed to install bathrooms (no experience required).

 

Unvented Hot Water Storage Systems

If you're already a plumber or heating engineer, this course will teach you how to install and maintain unvented hot water storage systems

 

WRAS - Water Regulations Advisory Scheme

Completion of this course enables you to apply for 'approved contractor' status with your local water authority - a prerequisite for many employers.

 

NVQ Level 2 Certification – For Experienced Site Plumbers

This fast-track NVQ programme is designed for experienced plumbers looking to gain the NVQ Level 2 Diploma quickly and with minimal fuss.

 

Whether you're male or female, why not consider training to become a plumber with the help of Access Training UK? Our courses offer qualifications for a range of skill levels, allowing you to achieve your career aspirations within a relatively short time frame.

View Our Plumbing Courses >>


Whether you dream of becoming a professional plumber or would simply like to improve your skills so you become handier around the home, a great place to start is understanding the most common plumbing problems and how to fix them. 

From dripping taps to leaking pipes, here are just a few of the most common water woes you may come across: More...



So, you want to learn how to fix a boiler and heating systems, but does that mean you need gas engineer course or a plumbing course? We often receive questions about the difference between the two jobs, so we thought we’d write a blog post that’ll clear up the issue and put the differences in black and white. More...


There is nothing worse than a boiler breaking down or having a plumbing issue during winter. No heating or warm water could mean some chilly days are in store. So, what can you do to prevent the big freeze taking over a home?

Some experts believe wrapping up a hot water cylinder to be a cost-effective solution. More...


This year, the United Kingdom has been facing its biggest skills shortage for a generation. There are huge talent gaps across a number of professions, including bricklaying and plumbing.

The scarcity of plumbers is now having large repercussions as we enter the winter months; not only are a number of construction firms having to cancel or delay new projects, a number of private firms are finding themselves unable to cope with the increased demand for plumbing maintenance and repair this winter. The country’s shortage of plumbers (combined with the increase in sick leave that’s to be expected at this time of year) is leaving older/vulnerable people without heating and hot water for extended periods of time.

In Sunderland this week, a diabetic pensioner went for 40 hours without heating or hot water because an emergency repair team was unable to cope with demand. It is reported that they had 10 emergency plumbers that were supposed to be working over the weekend; however, seven of the ten plumbers were off because of illness. This is not an isolated case, nor is it a regional shortage. This scenario is common throughout the whole of the United Kingdom.

The current skills shortage means that people who are willing to gain the skills to become a qualified plumber are getting heavily rewarded for their work. Fully qualified plumbers can earn between £1,200 and £1,800 a week, and because of the skills shortage, there is no shortage of work available. In short: there has never been a better time to enrol on a plumbing training course and gain the qualifications needed to become a professional plumber.

We at Access Training offer a large variety of trade training courses, from plumbing courses for people who have no or limited plumbing experience through to courses designed for professional plumbers looking to refresh their knowledge or to gain extra skills.

So, no matter where you live, what your circumstances are, or what your experience level is, we are confident that we have the perfect course for you.

Click here to view our plumbing training courses.

It's always been said that plumbers are constantly in demand, but did you know that said demand is so high that many existing plumbers are working well over 48 hours a week? It isn't just the customers that need more fully-trained professional plumbers, it looks like the plumbers themselves could use a bit of help too!

A new survey carried out by plumbing assurance scheme WaterSafe found that over half of UK plumbers are working over the maximum working hours with the Working Time Directive. Along with the 54% working over 48 hours, 26% are working between 40-48 hours - with only 13% working between 35-40 hours. What does this mean? Well, 94% of the plumbers spoken to thought that their long hours are having a negative impact on their family and social life.

So what's causing these unhealthy work shifts? 61% said that they've had to extend their working hours over the last ten years, and when asked 77% thought that the recession had impacted their business. Aditionally, 41% commented that customers think that cost is the most important factor when hiring a plumber, rather than who is suitably qualified for the job.

CIPHE CEO and WaterSafe board member Kevin Wellman said it was "concerning" to see such a large proportion of plumbers having to work such long hours in order to meet consumer demand.

He added: "It's important that the industry steps up to addresses this issue because overworked, tired plumbers could potentially result in unsafe installations and have a negative impact on their home life. Moreover, if we want to encourage young people into the industry we need to ensure hours are realistic and the industry is a well-regulated, safe place to work."

With more work available than what the current load of plumbers to handle, becoming a qualified plumber doesn't sound like a bad idea. And if you choose to take those skills and become self-employed, you'll be able to choose the hours you work. Overwork may be a problem for plumbers, but with self-employment you'll always have that option of stopping when you know you need to stop. Physical, varied, rewarding work with good pay and an opportunity for self-employment. Sounds perfect, but where do you start?

You start at the beginning of course, and that's with an intensive plumbing course with us here at Access Training. Working alongside our professional team of tutors, you'll work your way from a beginner all the way up to a trained professional, not only learning the practical skills needed but also the required theory and qualifications. Despite taking a fraction of the time it takes to complete a plumbing course in college, there's absolutely no skimping on quality as you work alongside tutors who've spent years in the plumbing industry. Not only will they be teaching you the relevant plumbing theory, but also offer their wisdom when it comes to working in the industry.

To find out more about our plumbing courses as well as all the other trades training we supply at Access, give our advice team a call on 0800 3457492 or fill in the online form found here on this website. The team are ready to answer all of your questions and explain things in more detail.