Why become a plumber?

By PIRB

Most people think that plumbing is dirty work or a non-skilled profession. This is a misperception.

To be a plumber, you need to possess various skills and competencies. Without plumbing, modern life would not exist. Even Albert Einstein, one of the greatest geniuses in history, said: “If I had my life to live over again, I would be a plumber.”

plumber 3451414 640One of the advantages of becoming a plumber is the reliability of this career choice. Regardless of the economic situation in the country, there will always be a need for plumbers. By working your way up the designation tier, you control the ability to advance your career in a single field.

There is massive scope for growth within the industry, as specialising in different fields forms part of the career ladder in plumbing. Move up the ranks as a learner plumber to the top two tiers of a master or director plumber. The option of becoming an inspector or a trainer is also an integral part of the industry’s future.

Generally, plumbers are good at problem solving, possess the ability to follow technical plans, and understand the significance of health and safety. People skills are also important, as dealing with consumers, municipalities, and various other professionals are required daily. Plumbing will never be a mundane office job and the opportunity to upskill or study further in the field always exists.

Plumbers do not need to have a university degree, but industry-recognised training is required to become a qualified practitioner. A common entry point into the plumbing industry is through an apprenticeship with a licensed plumber or plumbing company. During training, you will learn how to install water supplies, find faults, fix domestic appliances, and attend to emergency call-outs, among other things.

There are a variety of plumber apprenticeships and courses available in South Africa. It is just a matter of searching for opportunities available.

Once you have joined a plumber or plumbing company, you can earn while you study; therefore, student finance may not be a burden. Many families do not have the funds to study once their children leave high school and this makes the plumbing industry the perfect gateway into the working world.

The Construction Education and Training Authority (CETA) and the Quality Council for Trades & Occupations (QCTO) are responsible for evaluating and accrediting all suitable training courses for use by prospective plumbers. You will need to complete CETA- or QCTO-accredited training to become a licensed plumber.

Once you have the required skills, you will be in demand and own the ability to earn a decent wage as a plumber in South Africa.

The best way to start your career is as an assistant or learner plumber, where you will work alongside an experienced and qualified plumber while servicing residences. As you gain experience, you will be able to explore opportunities within the industry.

There are many opportunities for plumbers in South Africa. Some plumbers work for companies in the construction industry, as well as for plumbing companies, while others are independent contractors working on a self-employed basis.

Plumbing also has specialisations that would require proper training and certification. Plumbing is not only about working with pipes and taps in bathrooms and kitchens, it is so much more. Plumbing is a huge industry with many different aspects.

Specialisations can include:

  • Arbitrators
  • Estimators
  • Training assessors
  • Above and below ground drainage
  • Rainwater disposal
  • Cold or hot water
  • Solar, heat pump, or gas
  • Water energy.

Fortunately, in South Africa, there are organisations that support the plumbing industry and plumbers, such as the Plumbing Industry Registration Board (PIRB), the Institute of Plumbing South Africa (IOPSA), and the Joint Acceptance Scheme for Water Services Installation Components (JASWIC). With these organisations supporting and encouraging the upliftment of plumbers and the industry as a whole, being a plumber is not only a rewarding job but one that is recognised as a valuable pillar of society.


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