Plumbing apprenticeships

We’re here to help you get started in a new trade career. 

Find out more about plumbing apprenticeships or get your CV in-front of loads of great employers who are looking for talented and ambitious people just like you. 

An apprenticeship in plumbing can help you kick start your career in the trades industry. 

Want a career promising financial stability, job satisfaction, good pay, and a sustainable, future-proof path that empowers you to make a positive impact on both the environment and people’s lives? Then the answer is simple: become a plumber! 

Put simply, jobs in the trades like plumbing offer a world of benefits – meaning an apprenticeship in the sector is well worth considering over university.

Firstly, it’s a hugely rewarding career. As a plumber, you have the satisfaction of solving real-world problems and helping people in their time of need, making a tangible difference in their lives – with no two days ever the same.

You also won’t be sat at a desk 9-5!

There’s also brilliant earning potential, not least because the demand for skilled plumbers remains consistently high, translating into competitive salaries – up to £40,000 a year. What’s more, after qualification, you have the flexibility to pick and choose your working hours, granting you greater work-life balance and control over your schedule.

Plumbing is a future-proof profession, with minimal risk of automation. Unlike some jobs threatened by AI and technology, plumbing requires hands-on skills and expertise that can’t be easily replaced by machines. Plus, many plumbing opportunities lie in sustainable and green sectors, including renewable energy, contributing to a greener future for us all.

This plumbing apprenticeships guide has all the information you need to think about plumbing as a career option for you, as well as activities to help you test your skills and help with finding an apprenticeship. 

What does a plumber do?

The role of a plumber involves much more than simply repairing sinks and toilets. These hugely important people are responsible for maintaining and installing pipes in residential and commercial settings while ensuring alignment with building codes, safety regulations, and established guidelines.

Plumbers are required at most stages of the construction process, often working alongside architects and builders to ensure their measurements and plans meet their guidelines.

Plumbers go through lots of training to become qualified and usually need to have the following skills:

  • Proficiency in using diagnostic equipment
  • Capability in installing new water pipes
  • Expertise in repairing water pipes
  • Skill in installing fixtures

There are lots of different career pathways to becoming a plumber. However, one of the most common routes is an apprenticeship as this allows you to learn on the job and be taught by an experienced mentor who can guide you through the ins and outs of what it takes to be a plumber.

How much does a plumber earn?

£ 30000
Per year

A plumber salary can range from £15,000 – £40,000 per year, depending on the level of experience. 

However, a career as a plumber offers even more earning potential when plumbers go self-employed and set up their own businesses. This is known as becoming a sole trader or business owner.

How much does a plumbing apprentice earn? 

The average apprentice wage to start with is at least £5.28 per hour if you’re aged 18 or under, or you’re aged over 18 but still in the first year of your apprenticeship. After this, your wage can increase alongside the length of time of your apprenticeship. 

How much does a plumber apprentice earn per hour? 

Age Hourly wage
Aged 18 and under £5.48
Aged 19-20 £7.49
Aged 21-22 £10.18
Aged 23+ £10.42

What does a plumber's salary mean in real terms?

£ 20000
Per month after tax

Based on a salary of £40,000 a year, a plumber would earn £2,601 per month after tax.

Earning potential and salary information can sometimes be overwhelming when it’s just a number, so we’ve explored what a top plumbing salary would look like against day-to-day spending.From cinema tickets to takeaways, we’ve compared what a top monthly salary looks like against some everyday lifestyle costs.

Takeaway pizza orders
Whether you’re a fan of pepperoni or think pineapple does belong on pizza, it doesn’t matter!

£2,601 is the equivalent of 170 takeaway pizza orders – so there’s plenty of chances to settle the debate on which tastes better.

*Based on a Domino’s large Margherita pizza costing £14.99
Pairs of Yeezy trainers
Plumbers work hard, so it makes sense that they earn enough cash to splash out on trends.

£2,601 is the equivalent of 13 pairs of Adidas Yeezy trainers – so you can have a different pair for every day of the week, and then some.

*Based on Yeezys costing £200 a pair.
Concert tickets
Whether you’re a die-hard Swiftie or you’re more into the drum & bass scene, a top plumber salary will mean you can explore all your music tastes.

A salary of £2,601 is the equivalent to 37 concert tickets – so you can take all your mates too.

*Based on the average concert price costing £70.
Season tickets
Whoever you and your mates support, you could watch the beautiful game from the stadium as £2,601 is the equivalent of 3 season tickets to a Premier League team.

*Based on Premier League season tickets costing on average £800.

How can a plumbing  apprenticeship help me start my career?

Kickstarting your plumbing career via an apprenticeship is a win-win because you can earn whilst you learn. Apprenticeships let you learn all the necessary skills and knowledge through your college studies and mentorship support, all while receiving a good salary – something that you don’t get through higher education.


The blend of both practical experience (‘on-the-job’) and theoretical learning (‘off-the-job’) provides the best of both worlds by not only expanding your knowledge and skill set, but also by gaining direct insight into the reality of being a fully certified professional plumber. This hands-on experience can help to alleviate any stress or anxiety about officially beginning your first job, as you’ll have already benefited from up to 4 years of guided training under industry experts.


Skilled tradespeople are in huge demand – we need nearly one million new workers in the industry to help keep up with construction plans. So, now is the perfect time to start an apprenticeship to become a plumber. 

How long can it take to do a plumbing apprenticeship?

It takes up to 4 years to complete a plumbing apprenticeship programme. Check out the timeline below to see the different stages of completing an apprenticeship. 

September 2023

Register for our Jobs Board

The Get In programme is actively looking for young people like you to match up with employers looking for carpentry apprentices. Register to our platform here to get your career started.
September 2023

September 2023

Submit your CV

The next step is to submit your CV on our jobs board.
No CV? No problem. Read our guide to applying for an apprenticeship to get your CV sorted.

September 2023

October 2023

Find an apprenticeship and employer near you

Our jobs board can help you to find an apprenticeship opportunity near you.

To become a plumber in England, the best apprenticeship for you to take would be the Plumbing and Domestic Heating Technician (Level 3).

This apprenticeship can typically take up to 4 years to complete and the entry requirements are typically that you should have English and Maths at level 2.

October 2023

November 2023

Interview for an apprenticeship

If your application for an apprenticeship is successful, you’ll be invited to interview for the role. It’s natural to get nervous before an interview, so don’t worry. Read our guide on how to nail any apprenticeship interview to make sure you’re prepared for any questions you might get asked.

November 2023

December 2023

Secure your apprenticeship

If your interview goes well, you’ll be offered a role as an apprentice (congratulations!). If it doesn’t, then try not to feel too disheartened. It can sometimes take a little while to find the right employer for you, and interviews are part of that process of understanding if you’re both a good fit for each other. So, take your time.

Once you’ve found the right employer and secured your apprenticeship role, you’ll be given a start date to join the company.

December 2023

January 2024 - January 2028

Earn whilst you learn as an apprentice

4 years of training on the job 

You’ve made it! You’re now on your plumbing apprenticeship, learning all the key skills you need to make it as a plumber.  

During your apprenticeship, you’ll work alongside qualified plumbers to support them on fixing, maintaining and installing pipes and fixtures. You will also learn about all of the important health and safety standards that are required and have the responsibility of handling some dangerous tools. These tasks will not only teach the technical skills that are required to becoming a plumber, but also the transferable skills such as:

  • Critical thinking
  • Problem solving
  • Confidence
  • Ability to work under pressure.
  • Keeping to strict deadlines

As you progress in your role, you’ll start to work more independently and complete tasks on your own. 

January 2024 - January 2028

January 2028

Qualify as a plumber

It can take up to 4 years to qualify as a plumber. Once qualified, experienced plumbers can earn up to £40,000 a year when employed at a company. Self-employed plumbers and sole traders who set up their own companies can earn over £60,000.

January 2028

How can Checkatrade's Get In programme help me start my plumber career?

Checkatrade’s Get In programme can help you find a plumbing apprenticeship through our Jobs Board, meaning it will be easier for you to find the right opportunity for you.

We’re actively looking for more young people aged 16-25 who want to take charge of their career and make it as a plumber. Simply register and submit your CV to get access to tonnes of employers who are looking for ambitious young people just like you.

Apply for a plumbing apprenticeship

Checkatrade’s Get In Programme can help you find a plumber apprenticeship with an employer. Here’s how it works…

Register your account

Employers looking for an apprentice can easily find you, and together, you’ll start your apprenticeship journey.

Upload your CV

Employers looking for an apprentice can easily find you, and together, you’ll start your apprenticeship journey.

Find your employer and apprenticeship 

Employers looking for an apprentice can easily find you, and together, you’ll start your apprenticeship journey.

How do I know if a career as a plumber is right for me?

It can be difficult to decide which career is right for you, so the best place to start is by thinking about the kinds of skills you enjoy using.

Like pretty much every trade, plumbers need to have a good work ethic, be able to get stuck into jobs and not mind potentially getting their hands dirty.

On top of that, as a plumber you’ll be working directly with clients. So, if you’re someone who enjoys meeting and having a good chat with new people, this job’s got you covered!

If you are already passionate about problem-solving, have a strong attention to detail and can work under pressure – then you’re already on the right track to having the right attitude that’s needed to become a successful plumber.

However, we understand how hard it can be to decide which career is right for you, so check out some of the resources below to explore the key skills plumbers need to be successful. 

Get In The Game: explore life as a plumber

We’ve explored the skills plumbers need and the skills they naturally have through the lens of gaming. Based on popular gaming styles, we’ve created gaming characters that show the kinds of strengths and skills plumbing apprenticeships need to make it in the ‘game’ of a career as a plumber. 


Think you’ve got what it takes? Explore the information below to find out. 

Meet Piper: the plumber gaming character

Ready to pipe up? With water running through their veins, this characters will equip you with torrents of power.

At one with the elements, Piper has the capabilities to drain any enemy with a single blow.

Blast through any situation with this characters and use your brain waves to tackle any problem at hand.

A stand out in the sea of players, Piper has the potential to whirl up a storm and enter scenarios full steam ahead.

Piper is a silver level rare character. We actively need more players like them in the game. Can you help? 

How rare is Piper?

4,500,000 Coins

If you needed in-game currency to buy a character like Piper, you’d need the maximum value to buy them. That’s because the skills Piper brings are top of their game. In real life, plumbers have to go through a long process to qualify to make sure they have all the skills they need to be a success.  

Silver level rarity 

Piper is a silver level rare character, because, whilst there are characters like them, we still need more.  In real life, the UK needs more skilled plumbers in the industry. So we need more players like Piper, and like you, to take on plumbing roles in the UK.  

Water control 

Piper can bend water to their will, channelling it into directions they want or stopping it all together. Piper is a key character that powers the trades ‘game’. In the real world, plumbers also play an important central role. They provide people and buildings with water that is essential for modern life. The world as we know it can’t function without them. 

What skills does an apprentice plumber need to have?

Piper is a good example of the kinds of skills a plumber apprentice will need to have naturally, as well as the skills that will develop through your apprenticeship.

Natural skills

These are skills you will naturally have or be interested in using.

Interest in hands-on work
Interest in DIY projects
Problem solving

Skills you develop

These are skills you will develop during your apprenticeship. 

Technical skills
Placing safety first
Working with a team and on our own

Test your skills with this electrician scenario game

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Coming soon: interactive video content

Try your hand at Piper’s plumbing skills with our interactive video content. Coming soon. 

Think you could make it as a plumber?

Employers are looking for talented young people just like you to complete an apprenticeship. Earn whilst your learn as an apprentice and get a job as a plumber.  

Which character suits you?

Not sure if a career as a plumber is right for you?

Take our quiz to find out which trades role you should play. 

What's it like being a plumber in real life?

"Once I had completed my GSCE’s I knew I didn’t want to return to school to do my A-Levels and I didn’t want to go to university. I did well in school, but it just wasn’t the right environment for me. I wanted to do something practical I had never done before."

Rachel shares how her passion for practical skills led to a plumbing career.

Read more about young people in trades careers

From how to get started in your trades career to tips on creating a CV and writing a cover letter, get all the best advice to launch your trades career from the experts at About Apprenticeships.

Get In the know

Sometimes it’s difficult to know where to start when it comes to apprenticeships, but we’re changing that! We’ve created a range of blogs and articles just for you, packed with useful info.

From creating your covering letter and CV, to preparing and nailing your apprenticeship interview. You’ve got this.

Join the movement

We’re actively looking for young people like you to help us build a better future. 

The UK is facing a major skills shortage. We need tens of thousands more plumbers, electricians, joiners, and other tradespeople – and we’re looking to find bright, new apprentices to help plug the gap.

We’re looking for young people aged 16 to 25 who want to take control of their own futures.