JTL Blog

Five reasons to apply for an apprenticeship in the heating and plumbing sector

Female apprentice on site

At JTL, we recognise the exciting and challenging opportunities that work-based learning offers young people. From competitive salaries to the potential of owning your own business, here’s just a few of the reasons why you should kick off your career in heating and plumbing with an apprenticeship.


1.     You will earn while you learn

You will be employed on a full-time salary from day one. It is likely that you will be paid an hourly rate for the hours that you work. The exact amount will be up to the employer, but as a rule, it is usually no less than new entrants to work.

Most employers follow the pay scales set by the industry. For instance, companies that are JIB (Joint Industry Board) members pay rates set for their respective industries. These can vary depending on location, travel allowances and overtime. Pay increases are linked to successful advancement within training.

And, as an employee, you will be given at least 20 days paid holiday, plus time off for bank holidays, each year. The exact details will be written into the contract of employment and training agreement.

2.     How much an apprentice can earn once qualified

In JTL’s 2018 study with YouGov, the ECA (Electrical Contractors’ Association) and the JIB, we discovered that 25% of people aged 18-24 years old are put off electrotechnical and plumbing careers by what they perceive to be low pay levels. This figure shot up to 40% for those aged 18-24 from ethnic minority (BAME) groups.

These myths simply aren’t true. With a career in plumbing, you can earn anywhere between £25,000 and £40,000 per year in your mid-twenties. The average annual income for a heating engineer[1] is £32,500, which is £5,000 more than the average UK salary. Top-earning heating engineers typically earn anything up to £60,000 a year – more than double the average UK salary.

Unlike university education, you won’t have the hefty student debt to pay off either, as apprenticeships are fully funded.

3.     Opportunities for career progression

If you’re highly motivated and keen to learn, the heating and plumbing sector has many avenues for you to explore. You could start off by qualifying as a domestic/commercial/industrial plumber, gain a degree and then become a consultant or public health engineer[2]. There are lots of other options that could lead to interesting employment in the industry such as: Technical Representative, Water Regulations Inspector, Expert Witness, Trainer or Plumbing Lecturer.

If you work for a construction company, you could go on to become an estimator, buyer, charge-hand or project engineer. Plus, if you work in a big company you may be able to rise in the ranks and eventually become a manager or director.


4.     You could run your own business

After qualifying in heating or plumbing, you could one day become self-employed. Being your own boss has many advantages, including being able to pick and choose the jobs that suit you. You can also set and work towards your own financial goals. For example, some plumbers choose to work a lot throughout certain parts of the year, which allows them to have longer periods of time off afterwards.


5.     You will gain skills for life

Nowadays, vocational skills are becoming increasingly more important and an apprenticeship will set you up perfectly for the rest of your career in heating and plumbing. Both fields are mentally and physically challenging, requiring skills in maths, scientific knowledge and manual abilities. You will learn how to solve problems and think creatively, while being a great communicator and able to provide top levels of customer service.

With technology advancing at an ever-increasing rate, the opportunity to diversify your skillset in heating and plumbing has never been greater. Plumbing technologies now harness energy from the sun, sea, ground and air. This means that a domestic plumber could be installing a solar thermal water heating system one day and carrying out day-to-day work like repairing a boiler the next.


Interested in our apprenticeships? Find out more here or call our freephone number 0800 085 2308.


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