Updated March 2019
Thinking about a career move to plumbing in Ireland but are not sure how to become a plumber in Ireland?
If you’re living in Ireland and would consider yourself to be a predominantly practical, ‘hands-on’ person who enjoys physical work, then plumbing may very well be the perfect occupation for you. However, if you’re not one for confined spaces and physical labor, then perhaps there are other jobs out there that may be a better suit for you. In any case, being a plumber is a highly rewarding job with many people requiring the assistance that they provide with their service.
The average salary for a plumber operating within Ireland and the United Kingdom starts at £18,000 and develops to an estimate of £40,000.
Some plumbers may decide to set up their own plumbing service privately, which may allow them to make a much higher salary, however, the risks that are associated with setting up on your own make this a choice that should be made once you’ve gained substantial experience in the field. It is certainly not recommendable to plumbers who are just starting out or have not built a decent sized client-bank prior to setting up privately.
Becoming a fully qualified, certified and reputable plumber is no short task, however, once you’ve established yourself it can provide a plethora of benefits that exceed many other job roles available.
In terms of the education that is required in order to become a plumber in Ireland, you must successfully complete a selection of courses that will build you up with sufficient knowledge and experience to become a fully qualified plumber. Generally, within Ireland and the U.K, most plumbers, pipelayers, steamfitters and pipefitters enroll in an apprenticeship of some form, in order to become qualified whilst also making some money on the side. These apprenticeships will show you the roles and beyond in terms of practical science, maths, drafting, safety procedures, sketching and regulations with concerns to building codes and general plumbing. Alongside building your bank of knowledge, you will be equipped with experience in the field, in order to thoroughly train you for the job.
Typically, those who are looking to become a plumber should tick the following set of criteria.
- They possess the capacity to solve problems quickly and effectively
- They have proficient manual dexterity
- The ability to work effectively under pressure and/or strict timeframes
- Possess outstanding communication skills
- Have highly developed mechanical and technical skills
Plumbing is a profession that requires a highly skilled workforce. You will be expected to work fast whilst being flexible enough to adapt to any challenge that you face. Being confident in your ability to do the job well and skilfully is essential.
The following are the primary certifications required in order to be recognised as a “qualified plumber” in Ireland.
- A Level 2 Diploma in Maintaining and Installing Domestic Heating Systems (NVQ)
- A Level 2/3 Diploma in Domestic Heating and Plumbing (NVQ)
The actual certifications you need are dependent on your level of experience in the field. If you already have several years of experience as a plumber under your belt, then you may get away with only a level 2 and still be considered to be fully qualified. However, it is in your best interest to acquire these certifications, in order to promote consumer confidence that you’re capable of doing the job properly.
For more information regarding certifications and other details concerning the education requirements of becoming a plumber, please refer to the following link. Click here.
Plumbing roles and jobs in Ireland
As a plumber, your main job will be to assist homes, commercial or even industrial locations with a variety of issues regarding mostly appliances. The following is an overall view of the kind of work you’ll be expected to complete as a fully trained plumber.
- Installing water supplies, drainage systems and heating systems
- Finding faults with equipment or systems and repairing them
- Servicing oil-fired and gas central heating systems, such as boilers and radiators
- Installing and fixing common domestic appliances such as cookers, showers, washing machines and gas fires
- Servicing ventilation units as well as air-conditioning units
- Attending call-out during times of emergency, for instance fixing leaks whilst it’s cold outside
- Fitting flashings, joints and weather-proof substances to roofs, walls and chimneys
On most if not all jobs, you will be required to make use of both power and hand tools, which might include welding equipment. As you become more experienced as a plumber, it’s possible that you may become specialised into certain areas such as metal work for commercial, historical or industrial buildings.
Most plumbers work 40 hours each week, with a high possibility of overtime being available, due to the ever-growing need for assistance from plumbers, especially during the colder months of the year. If you join a plumbing firm that operates an all-day call-out service, it’s possible that you’ll be required to work during the later hours of the day and perhaps even weekends and holidays. As previously mentioned, plumbing is not an occupation for those who suffer from claustrophobia, as it is common that plumbers will have to operate in cramped spaces and in all weather settings from rain to snow.
Depending on the firm you work for, you may be required to have a driving licence, so that you can travel locally. Additionally, some firms require their workers to make overnight stays in less-local areas, which is something to consider before accepting a job offer.
How many plumbers are in Ireland?
It is not exactly clear just how many plumbers are currently operating in Ireland, as many chose not to register officially or operate privately, meaning that finding an accurate figure is bordering on impossible. However, it is safe to say that plumbing is an extremely popular occupation in Ireland, and despite the large number of plumbers who are available, there’s still the need for extra plumbers to fill in the gaps.
Plumbing labour unions
Plumbing labour unions aim to provide plumbers with a better work life, ranging from everything to a fair pay for their service to enhancing working conditions. It is a good idea before entering any industry to observe the established unions that exist, in order to get an idea for how you’re protected from exploitation and to get an idea for who you can contact should you run into issues with your job.
To read more into plumbing labour unions in Great Britain and Ireland, refer to the following link. Click here.