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The salaries of Plumbers are often highlighted in the national press. Figures of 30-70k p.a. are touted, alongside much talk of the profound shortage in the number of Plumbers within the UK. So, are we being told a story or is this the genuine picture? For an experienced Plumber, this amount of salary is both realistic and feasible. Whilst salaries of 70-100k p.a. are possible, it remains chiefly for self employed people, rather than those working in the customary routes.

UK Plumber Training Examined

The salaries of Plumbers are often highlighted in the national press. Figures of 30-70k p.a. are touted, alongside much talk of the profound shortage in the number of Plumbers within the UK. So, are we being told a story or is this the genuine picture? For an experienced Plumber, this amount of salary is both realistic and feasible. Whilst salaries of 70-100k p.a. are possible, it remains chiefly for self employed people, rather than those working in the customary routes.

However, working for regular employers often results in the typical hours of Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm. Approximately wages of 15k and 30k p.a. are reasonable within the UK, along with standard benefits such as holiday pay and sickness allowance. A self-employed person can earn more money than this traditional approach, but will often need to work outside of the Mon- Fri, 9am to 6pm example. For example in the domestic sector where clients are often at work during the working day, self employed plumbers are regularly required to work during evening and weekend visits.

Also there is the factor of self-employment and whether it goes with some people more than others. By using ‘good business sense’, including getting your own cost per hour correct, items such as advertising and marketing can also be worked out. Equally, most self-employed people will need to pay additional costs to cover their materials and transport, alongside legal and accountancy fees etc. Although it is expected that these can be relatively small in relation to the earnings overall they can mount up, but then so can the benefits. Certainly the downsides are virtually always beaten by the income!

Initially, by searching for standard work a Student Entrant can get the majority of training especially with working knowledge and experience. Alternatively, the Self Employed Entrant needs to quickly establish those certificates that they will rely on in industry. In fairness it is the ‘domestic’ market rather than the commercial sector that attracts the majority of the self-employed workers in the UK. (Whilst not everyone does the majority do!)

Considering the education in Plumbing, each path into the industry needs some match in the certification modules. There does remain considerable question when the factor of NVQ’s (SVQ’s in Scotland) is realised.

Without a doubt, it is the greater dependence on the NVQ element that separates the Student Entrant from the Self Employed Entrant. In order to meet their client’s expectations the Self Employed Entrant will often need to use a greater range of certifications. To satisfy their typical household-based client base many self-employed persons will need to quickly focus on the relative domestic skill sets. The Student Entrant, once they have covered the key fundamentals, will carry on their study in a way similar to an apprenticeship (within the workplace – where the NVQ element can be assessed.) As it is cheaper form of study overall then the Student Entrant can make financial savings from the beginning. Nevertheless by taking a more commercial viewpoint and gaining qualifications faster than the Student Entrant, many Self Employed Entrants gain greater financial rewards and within a shorter space of time.

To be sure the financial returns required is the result of clear careers discussions covering certification and the overall study requirements. It is often the issue of 3 years in low-paid apprenticeship work, alongside going back to college that many adults having to look after their family and with say 20kp.a requirements find difficult. It should also be remembered that many younger Student Entrants are entering an apprenticeship and thereby have their courses paid for them whereas the mature self-employed students do not. The level of certification sought by the student drives the course structure and can result in costs of between 3k through to 10k+.

The study process is often split with Student Entrants studying at recognised further-education colleges whereas the mature Self Employed Entrants going for a wider range of private run technical schools. Commercially oriented plumbing course companies will provide an established path of training which ultimately leads into recognised skill-sets and qualifications. Of a key opportunity is the ability to train out of hours – evening, part time and self study classes that allows Self Employed Entrants to continue training whilst continuing with their job and maintaining their financial situation. With so many training colleges available, it makes sense to gather information from as many sources as possible. Having provided an option for you to come back and review the links and adverts from several sites, why not book mark this page (CTRL-D).

By going on added training programs many plumbing students seek to increase their ‘marketability’. These courses can provide a range of additional certifications in areas such as Gas, Green Energy and Electrical. As part of the commercial and domestic heating procedures, Gas training continues to be popular with Plumbers.

Gas Training is considered a dedicated training program with key subjects followed by important NVQ’s. It is the ability to add extra skills to the fore, along with the features that on-going training offers that continue to be attractive to those who trained as a plumber. It is from this position that many believe the mix of Plumbing/Gas Training is more apt to the mature student. Indeed, for the Mature Student, the path appears to be centred on adopting the core subjects and completely dropping the NVQ elements.

The self-employed professional appears to benefit from this distinct training mixture. The opportunity to learn a wider range of perceived skill-sets (whilst earning money from them) becomes the attraction. This adds to their overall package rather than having to rely on sub-contraction of key skills to third parties. Sub-contracting can not only reduce the earning potential of a job, but also erode the value in the customer’s eye, as they may have to wait for key stages to be handled by someone else before the final completion of the job. The more skilled a plumber is in their job role – the more that they have to offer their client base.

In conclusion, the Self Employed Entrant can enjoy a much higher (and more quickly achieved) income than a Student Entrant, but they would have to work at developing a broader range of certifications (and consider the business side of things too.) Note: This information deals with industry requirements and policies for the UK market alone.

(C) 2009 – S. Edwards. Hop over to Part Time Plumbing Courses or Plumbing Qualifications.

About Emma G.

Working in the marketing industry since 2002. This blog is one of my hobbies.

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