Plumbing

Plumber

Plumbing – Apprenticeships

Plumbers install, maintain and repair systems of water supply, drainage and central heating in houses and other locations. These systems include hot and cold water systems, sanitary services, heating systems and pipework and controls for gas supply.

The work includes central heating systems and their controls, pipe-work, sanitary systems, drainage systems, guttering and rainwater systems and large refrigeration systems for industry. Maintenance and repair work includes routine servicing and emergency repairs, which involves finding faults, replacing or repairing damaged parts, carrying out tests and ensuring that the system works properly. Plumbers work on such technologies as underfloor heating systems, solar heating and geothermal heating systems.

Plumbers work in a variety of locations including houses, industrial and commercial buildings.

Plumbers require many skills including:
•Working with technical specifications and drawings
•Ability to use a variety of hand and power tools including wrenches, spanners, saws, cutters and welding equipment
•Cutting, bending, joining and fixing materials such as lead, copper, aluminium, plastic, zinc and iron
•Installation of central heating systems and their controls and pipework, sanitary systems
•Drainage systems, guttering and rainwater systems, and large refrigeration systems for industry
•Testing systems to ensure they are working efficiently and safely
•Maintenance and repair work including routine servicing and emergency repairs

Note: Experience has shown that higher grades of entry than those suggested by SOLAS are preferred for certain apprenticeships, due to the technical nature of the trade.

Employers typically seek applicants who have completed Leaving Cert including Maths (with at least a grade C3 in Ordinary Level Maths) and preferably Physics.

 

Work Aspects

Learning and developing new practical craft-related skills, knowledge and competence
•Working with and learning from experienced craftspersons
•Seeing a job through from start to finish
•Comply with Health and Safety requirements
•Working with technical drawings and diagrams
•Using tools or machinery to shape metal
•Being accurate with numbers in counting, measuring and arithmetic
•Being well organised and careful with practical tasks
•Working at heights
•Lifting or carrying heavy items
•Taking responsibility for own learning, including the allocation of study time
•Flexible working arrangements as emergency work may be involved
•Being physically active
•Passing all your phase exams (theory, practicals skills demonstration)
•Bending, kneeling and working in cramped and awkward spaces
•Earning as you learn

Phase 1: With Employer
•Induction Training
•Introduction to Health & Safety
•Introduction to Tools & Equipment
•Introduction to Basic Skills
Phase 2: Delivered in Training Centre (20 weeks)
Course Content:
•Induction
•Thermal Processes & Mild Steel Pipefitting
•Domestic Hot and Cold Water Services
•Domestic Heating/MMA (Manual Metal Arc) Welding
Phase 3: With Employer
Work Based Training and Assessments
Phase 4: Delivered in Educational Colleges (11 weeks)
Course Content:
•Thermal Processes & Mild Steel Pipefitting
•Advanced Copper & Plastic Pipework
•Oil Fired Boilers & Heating Systems
•Pipework Systems
Phase 5: With Employer
Work Based Training and Assessments
Phase 6: Delivered in Educational Colleges (11 weeks)
Course Content:
•Thermal Processes & Pipefitting
•Advanced Pipework, Water & Waste Water Systems
•Heating & Air Conditioning
•Gas Installation Safety
•Plant and Process Systems
Phase 7: With Employer
Work Based Training and Assessments
The overall duration of this apprenticeship is a minimum of 4 years provided all phases are successfully completed.
On successful completion of the programme the learner is awarded a Level 6 Advanced Certificate Craft – Plumbing.
As a Plumber you will need to be physically active and to be able to work with your hands.
An awareness of health and safety and good housekeeping is essential as well as attention to detail and an eye for the aesthetic.
The Plumber must have the ability to:
•Plan, Organise and Communicate effectively
•Solve problems
•Work independently and as part of a team
•Show a positive attitude
•Recognise the need for good customer relations
•Demonstrate good work practices including time keeping, tidiness, responsibility, quality awareness and safety awareness
Note: A person wishing to become an apprentice Plumber must pass a colour–vision test approved by SOLAS.
The minimum age at which the employment of an apprentice may commence is 16 years of age.
The minimum educational requirements are:
1. Grade D in five subjects in the Department of Education & Skills Junior Certificate Examination or an approved equivalent,
or
2. The successful completion of an approved Pre-Apprenticeship course
or
3. Three years’ work experience gained over sixteen years of age in a relevant designated industrial activity as SOLAS shall deem acceptable
Note: These are the current approved minimum educational requirements for apprenticeship programmes, however, previous experience of the following subjects would be an advantage but not essential:
•Engineering
•Technical Drawing/Graphics
•Metalwork
•Construction Studies
•Technology
•Mathematics
•Physics
Note: Experience has shown that higher grades of entry than those suggested by SOLAS are preferred for certain apprenticeships, due to the technical nature of the trade.
Employers typically seek applicants who have completed Leaving Cert including Maths (with at least a grade C3 in Ordinary Level Maths) and preferably Physics.
You must obtain employment as an apprentice in your chosen occupation.
•The employer must be approved to train apprentices.
•The employer must register you as an apprentice within two weeks of recruitment.
Note: Plumbing Apprenticeship applicants are required to pass a colour vision test approved by SOLAS.

On successful completion of the apprenticeship programme, apprentices are qualified to work within the recognised trade or profession.

Where apprentices and craftspersons have the necessary ability, initiative and basic qualifications, opportunities are available for advancement. These include advanced technology courses and management courses which are available in Institutes of Technology, Schools of Management and Professional Institutes.

Many craftspersons use their apprenticeship qualification as a platform to launch careers such as engineers, managers, owners of businesses, teachers and instructors amongst others.

For those with a desire to advance, career progrssion options include:

  • Supervisor
  • Foreman
  • Site Manager
  • Starting you own business