Plumbing Courses that cost money! are they worth it???

Discussion in 'Plumbers' Talk' started by Fire_man_sam182, Jul 4, 2006.

  1. Fire_man_sam182

    Fire_man_sam182 New Member


    i have been trying to get onto a plumbing course now for some time which i have found very difficult. i am 23 years old an i keep getting told that i am too old to get apprenticeship which i think is a load of **** but thats what i keep getting told.

    so i have been thinking about going on one of these 8 week plumbing courses which is most likely going to cost me 3k! i have just put my brand new 206 up for sale to pay for this also... which i am not very happy at doing but this is how serious i am at getting into plumbing.

    BUT i don't know if these are worth doing or are they just a waste of time and money?

    i would very much appreciate and info anyone could provide me with.

    don't get me wrong im not just trying to find the quickest way into the plumbing trade as i wold MUCH rather go to college and learn for the next couple of years but that is not realistic from what i have seen.

    thank you for taking the time to read this and also responding which i look forward to reading.
  2. bathstyle

    bathstyle Active Member

    You need to put the idea of Education via college on the back burner and get on the case of a professional Plumber.

    There is plenty of work out there at present so if you are persuasive enough and have the right attitude you should simply fall into a work placement.

    I'm training someone right now and think it's going really well, we are spurring each other on and things are getting done to a better quality and faster.

    Once you have found your niche with the right employer and work type you won't look back, good luck.
  3. Havent you posted about this before?

    Apprenticeship funding is available up to age 26.

    The colleges select because of the over subscription for places.

    Most experienced people think the short courses are a waste of money and are detrimental to the status of the profession.

    Those who pay for them think they are wonderful and after only six weeks will be earning the average plumbers wage of £85k

    Its even sadder that the learn quick places fool these people onto thinking wages are high. Even a reputable college allowed a charletan to address the students about power flushing many times a week at £950 a time using the machine he would sell to them for "only" £1500.

  4. Bigplumber

    Bigplumber New Member

    Keep the car mate and just keep on going. All they want is your money and don't care wether you get a job or not.

    If your that keen start up on your own doing small jobs, you will learn much faster and get customers along the way.
  5. Fire_man_sam182

    Fire_man_sam182 New Member


    thanks for the response, i really do appreciate it.

    i have been out with a plumber a couple of times and i have really enjoyed doign the job. the past 5 times i have been out it was for about 13 hours at a time so i know this is a very hard job but if you put the effort in it is worth it in the long run.

    i feel that in the past 5 times i have been out with a plumber i have learnt so much but i know there is so much more to learn and i really want to start learning but every turn i take which seems to be possitive turns into a brick wall.

    this really is a hard industry to get into... i think i have send atleast abount 100 letters and have only had abount 3 that someone resonded to. luckily my work is paying for the delivery of these letter, not that they know :) ...

    and i have posted on here before and i have got quite good feed back from plumbers which has given me some good info to follow up on. even reading the problems on here nad finding out what experienced plumbers say i have learnt quite a bit. that is what i do sometimes to help me with my learn from home course i have picked up a few good tricks just from reading all the info on this forum.
  6. PDPS

    PDPS New Member

    This is a very hard industry to get into if your real problem is lack of self-confidence.

    It actually requires no formal qualifications but a lot of practical ability, problem solving ability, adaptability, and the ability to recognize your own limits (personal and legal).

    It's vital to understand the rules and regulations. Read up on them. It's also vital to know what the planning department and building inspectors expect from you.

    The short courses are never going to give you real-world experience. Only working with a real-world plumber (or on your own if you're confident enough) will do that. Are the short courses worth the money? I'd say it depends. It depends on your current level of knowledge, how long you expect to take to recover the money you spend on your training, whether or not the course you're looking at give you a proper certification. Most importantly, will completing the course land you jobs that you wouldn't have been able to land without spending money on the course.

    Just don't expect to complete your eight week course and start making shed-loads of money. There's a lot to know that isn't plumbing. There's sales and marketing, book-keeping and accounting, preparation of estimates/quotes that'll get you the job without losing you money, customer relations. Most of the work you do will probably have little to do with plumbing. You'll need other skills as well - basic carpentry, some electrical, a bit of plastering, some tiling (a lot if you start doing bathroom refits).

    Earning good money comes with reputation and experience. I'm not there, yet, but the bathroom refits are improving and I expect, soon, to be able to get most of my work by word-of-mouth.
  7. Fire_man_sam182

    Fire_man_sam182 New Member

    "Pipe Dream"

    thats one thing i wasnt too sure that actualy meant anythign. i was pretty sure you need some qualifications but wasnt too sure that the NVQ was the all being of plumbing.

    i feel that i have the relavant customer services factor as i have worked withing customer services for the past 8 years now and i really enjoy making people happy with the work that i do within any sector. plumbing or telecommunications which i am currently doing. Accounts Manager for a company called Genesis Communications. "some of you may have already herd of Genesis if so im am sorry :)

    and with regards to the confidence i think my problem is over confidence. when i see something done i think i can do it exactly the same as i study exactly what the person does then i think i can do it. which im some cases i can do but i not ignorant enought to think that i couldnt do with more practice.

    i know this might sound sad but i really do think this is the job i was made to do. dont get me wrong i wish i was built to be a football player but this i feel is the perfect industry. i know it is hard graft but at the moment i am working 2 jobs anyway so im not affraid to put the hours in..

    thanks for the info and advice pipe dream..
  8. PDPS

    PDPS New Member

    "Pipe Dream"

    thats one thing i wasnt too sure that actualy meant
    anythign. i was pretty sure you need some
    qualifications but wasnt too sure that the NVQ was
    the all being of plumbing.

    Practical knowledge and experience count for more than a qualification. Keep yourself informed about changes to rules and regs, new products, obsolete products and you'll do ok.

    However, as with many other trades, there will come a time when you won't be allowed to pick up a pipe slice unless you have the right certificate. So, qualifications are a form of security.

    You'll also need appropriate training/certification/accreditation for some tasks (gas work being the big one), electrical work, unvented storage - others will add to this list.
  9. morbius

    morbius New Member

    Unfortunately short courses are the only viable option for alot of people, especially if you have mortgages, kids etc.

    They are not all bad, but they really only teach you the very basics of plumbing, and in my opinion you will definatley need to work with an experienced plumber for quite a while before going it alone.

    The main problems with the short courses:-
    1. With the amount of people on these courses you will find it very hard to get any 1 on 1 guidance from the tuitors. Try to find a course where the number of students per tuitor is stipulated.
    2. Most of the work is carried out in bays, set up to be bathrooms etc. There no doubt would have been hundreds of people using these bays before you, so most of the marking out/measuring etc will already be traced onto the walls. Also most of the holes in the floors for pipes etc are already cut out. So in alot of cases you are just running pipework, fitting baths etc without having to make any calculations and without really encountering any problems which you make come across in the field.
    3.The equipment used i.e. valves, tap connectors etc will not be new and in most cases new ones will not be available to you because of the cost involved, so leaks will be common on alot of fittings, unfortunately sometimes you will be unable to tell whether its down to your workmanship or the quality of the fittings.
    4.How to overcome common problems and troubleshooting will be rarely discussed with you on the course, I was lucky becasue my tuitors were extremely helpful and would answer any questions on plumbing at all. Unfortunately in some cases they are far from helpful and the qaulity of the instructors could vary a great deal.

    A few tips bfore you choose a course
    1.As mentioned above find out the number of students per tuitor.
    2.Find a course where you get a city and gulds at the end of it (they are out there)
    3.Dont believe the hype from the salespeople, they will tell you anything to get you to sign up. Ask them for a full list of everything you will learn and make sure they highlight what will be practical work and what will be theory work.
    4.Its an advantage to get on a course where they provide you with job search help.

    In conclusion, short courses will not make you a plumber in 4-20 weeks or whatever they quote, you will definately need to get experience with an experienced plumber and you may have to work for free to get it.

    But above all stick with it, there are people out there willing to help out.

    The last thing ill say is that its very easy for people to tar all these courses with the same brush, but i can honestly say the quality of these courses vary considerably, just because you have taken the short couse route over the college route does not mean that you are any less capable of doing the job.

    sorry for the long post
  10. scottie

    scottie New Member

    hi mate , i totally agree with big plumber these courses are there only for one thing , to make money from you !!. start by doing small jobs ie, replacing washers ,taps, outside taps and build up from there, try and get in with a good company , dont give up there are places out there , good luck , ps stay away from franchises !! you know the ones !! £27000 to buy and 15 % of your takens !! at least dick turpin wore a mask!!
  11. brentwoodheating

    brentwoodheating New Member

    Hey Morbi have you gone nocturnal? And more to the point- have you checked your email lately???
  12. Simon J

    Simon J New Member

    Fire Man Sam, I've just completed the City & Guilds Technical Certificate Level 2 in plumbing at my local college. I worked with a local plumber/builder for about 6-months and then left to go on my own. I would have stayed and worked with him for another year but for the fact the pay was low (wasn't expecting much cos I was learning) and he treated me like a piece of **** that was stuck to the sole of his boot.

    Don't go on one of these 'plumber in 8 weeks' course, the best route is night college and try to hook up with a local bloke for experience. Be prepared to not earn much but your investment in time with a local plumber getting one on one trainng/experience will be worth it's weight in gold in the long term. You'll be surprised how much you could actually do in a short spae of time providing you pick it up quickly. Invest in plenty of the basic tools and before you'll know it you will be doing small jobs for family/friends etc.

    Another suggestion is to try and get on sonme free training courses from manufacturers i.e. Aqualisa. they run courses on their velves etc. It's all good knoleedge and if you are like me you can't get enough information.

    Best of luck!
  13. Fire_man_sam182

    Fire_man_sam182 New Member


    thanks for all the info and i dont mind long mesasges as i will read all day if that is what it takes to find out what i need to do.

    the more i hear about these short courses the less i want to pay to do one. i dont really think i have herd anything good with regards to them and i dont want to take the chance paying 3k doing a short course. id rather take 3 months off work and work for free with a plumber full time and use the money i would have spent on that to keep me going for the 2-3 months.

    this web site is very helpful aswel and i have learnt so much just from talking to everyone on here and everyone has been very helpful which i appreciate so much. i think im gunna have to go back to the drawing board and start to send more letters out. already sent a few hundred! :(

    once again thanks and if anyone else has anythign to say "good or bad" "short or long - morbius..." i will be happy to read them.

    :) Ste.
  14. plummit

    plummit New Member

    Don't go on one of these 'plumber in 8 weeks' course, the best route is night college and try to hook up with a local bloke for experience.

    If you are going into plumbing, when you are older !, I would agree with the above statement whole heartedly.
    I have worked with "plumbers" who have "just picked it up", and I do believe they lack a fundermental understanding of plumbing, and dont last long. Unfortunately nature says that you have to walk prior to running.
    Work with as many plumbers as you can, (they are a fickle lot), and as the guy stated enrol on a night course in college.
  15. sandy man

    sandy man New Member

    Sam I would agree with Simon j. Evening course and practical work with a plumber or start doining small jobs or both.
    can't buy experience.
    Thats the road I am taking and I am getting work, slow but its happening.
    Question for Simon J though. I like him finished a certificate 2 at college. After that how do you complete an NVQ2 or is it woth it. (charge a customer 2K+ to do a bathroom fit with tiling and inform them that an assessor is going to come around to check your work?? I don't think so.
    Stick in their Sam.
  16. plummit

    plummit New Member

    charge a customer 2K+ to do a bathroom fit with tiling and inform them that an assessor is going to come around to check your work?? I don't think so.

    When a CORGI rep comes out, he wants to see work you are involved in or have done. As far as I am aware supposedly on a yearly basis.
    If you fitted a bathroom suite and asked an assessor to judge it, I would be more than happy to allow him into my home, your work should be top draw stuff.
  17. Simon J

    Simon J New Member

    Sandy Man, At first I thought I wouldn't do the NVQ as I saw it only to benefit those who wanted to work for a plumbing firm. As I was always going to be self employed I couldn't see the point. however my opinion's changed.

    I'm going to kick off the NVQ in September, I think you've got three years to do it and some of the tech. cert work i.e. lead and steel radiators can be used for the NVQ. I'm going on to do the Tech. Cert. level 3 as I want to eventually take the ACS exam and go on to be Corgi registered.

    Why did i change my mind? well if you want to be a member of the IPHE you've got to do the NVQ as they don't recognize the Tech. Cert. Also if I ever want to emigrate to Australia then I believe that again only the NVQ is recognised. but in general terms I now think the NVQ is a good thing to have and only complements your evidence that you're a capable plumber.

    Yes, a problem I thought of too about inviting round an assessor to view a job. Can't say a customer would be too pleased to find out your newly/part qualified, however there more than one way to skin a cat, suggest you like me hope a friend/family member wants a bathroom doing and as they know about you won't mind an assessor coming round. Either that or get an assessor round if the customer is out at work all day.
  18. gardm1nt

    gardm1nt New Member

    Pipe dreams has it spot on. You really need to have a good all round ability first. I am a carpenter by trade and this has helped me no end.

    I got into plumbing as i had hit on a slow period with the carpentry work. I spent six months labouring with a plasterer and doing small plumbing jobs, fitting this around the carpentry work I was at the time getting subbed.

    One of my clients was let down by a plumber on a kitchen fit I was doing and I was asked by the client if I would Do the plumbing as i had previously done a tap change for them. I ended doing it and realized I was losing a fair amount by passing this work on. I had previously done tiling work and so decided to start offering complete bathroom and kitchen fits.

    Things have progressed and i no longer advertise and have a 7 month waiting list. Keep at it!
  19. Fire_man_sam182

    Fire_man_sam182 New Member

    hey gardmint

    if you need any help for free let me know. id take a week off work and come work for you for free :) help you get that waiting list down lol.
  20. morbius

    morbius New Member

    Hey Morbi have you gone nocturnal? And more to the
    point- have you checked your email lately???

    Checked it tonight mate, email should be with you by the time you read this (i hope):)

Share This Page