It can take years of training to become a qualified plumber / heating engineer. A career in plumbing and heating calls for a dedication to lifelong learning, as the rate of technological advancement is rapid. An understanding of maths and science is vital, and those on the tools need a head for heights, the ability to work in cramped conditions and the stamina to complete physically hard work day after day. The plumbing industry holds diverse career paths, good wages and the opportunity for individuals to run their own business. Many plumbers progress to design, consultancy, teaching and management, making the plumbing and heating industry a career with a future with opportunities for males and females.

We would always suggest that you select your training provider very carefully. One essential piece of advice if you are looking to do training at an independant training provider, is to ask if the qualifications you will obtain at the end of the programme would allow you to become a Registered Plumbing or Heating Professional.

If the answer is 'No' then you should think very carefully about what type of training you will be getting, as it may not be recognised by the industry once you start work.

If the answer is 'Yes' then you will be gaining the minimum qualification requirements as set by the industry (NVQ Level 2 in England and Wales, SVQ Level 3 in Scotland, not just the technical certificate).

Training providers who tell you that you will be able to register but who do not provide the correct qualifications may well be in breech of consumer legislation and could be subject to investigation by trading standards.

Guidance for parents

Often children look to their parents when they are considering what type of career might interest them. The plumbing and heating industry has many diverse career paths that will provide a good living and professional status.

This fact sheet will give you information on embarking on a career in the plumbing and heating industry.

View details of Career Pathways for Plumbers and Plumbing Engineers

Changing Careers

Are you thinking of retraining and want a career in the plumbing and heating industry? This fact sheet will help you to understand the options available to you.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

Under the Code of Professional Standards which all members of the CIPHE agree to abide by, members are also required to participate in Continuing Professional Development (CPD). In fact, all members who are also registered with the Engineering Council as EngTech, IEng or CEng must, when called upon by the CIPHE, submit their record of CPD for assessment. Member registrants will be chosen at random and will be given notice of when they should submit their record, which will normally be for the preceding year only.

You may have read about mycareerpath in previous issues of P&H Engineering and we would encourage you to use this online facility if possible. You can upload CPD certificates for attendance on training courses or other events, keep a record of any exhibitions or Trade Shows you may have attended or a record of any private reading of technical journals or publications. Helping others to learn is also a form of CPD so you can also include this in your record if you are currently training an apprentice.

If you keep a CPD log for your employer as part of their appraisal system or maintain your CPD records with another Professional Engineering Institution, you can also submit this to the CIPHE to avoid duplicating effort.

The CIPHE recommends that members should obtain 30 CPD hours per year under the following activities and provides guidance on maximum hours to be obtained under each. This guidance can be used to help you to complete your CPD record.

The maximum number of hours that can be claimed for CPD purposes is 7 hours for a full day and 3.5 hours for a half day.

Below are examples of what constitutes CPD.

CPD Categories

1. Training Courses and Workshops

Training courses that are specific to developing your plumbing and heating knowledge and skills are eligible for CPD. Distance learning training is also acceptable. Evidence required: A copy of a signed certificate.

Maximum hours that may be claimed for this activity: 30 hours

2. Conferences and Seminars/Lectures

The following are eligible for CPD:

· Conferences and seminars organised by the CIPHE

· Conferences and seminars organised by other plumbing and heating engineering related organisations

CIPHE members who are involved in the delivery of seminars and lectures can also claim CPD hours for both the preparation and delivery of the presentations.

Maximum hours that may be claimed for this activity: 14 hours

3. Attending Exhibitions

The CIPHE recognises that attendance of industry related exhibitions counts towards an individual’s development and attending such exhibitions qualifies as CPD. Proof of attendance will need to be demonstrated via booking confirmation or a copy of a name badge.

Maximum hours that may be claimed for this activity: 8 hours

4. Technical Writing

The writing of published technical articles, papers, journals and books related to plumbing and heating engineering can qualify as CPD. Copies of all materials will need to be provided as evidence.

Maximum hours that may be claimed for this activity: 15 hours or 30 hours for books

5. Mentoring

The CIPHE recognises the value of members supporting apprentices/trainees and the following activities are eligible for CPD:

· Mentoring apprentices/trainees in a plumbing and heating engineering discipline

· Part time teaching/lecturing by non-academics

A letter for the individual being mentored will need to be provided as evidence or a letter from the educational establishment.

Maximum hours that may be claimed for this activity: 20 hours

6. Private study

The CIPHE defines private study as learning new skills and/or improving plumbing and heating engineering knowledge. The following qualify as CPD:

· Online research,

· Learning new job related skills

· Reading plumbing and heating engineering related publications

· Completion of CPD articles in P&H Engineering magazine. A certificate is issued for completion of CPD articles. (30 minutes per completed article or 3 hours where all six are completed and submitted).

Where applicable, evidence can be provided by noting the source, date and documentation of the relevance of the information obtained.

Maximum hours that may be claimed for this activity: 8 hours

7. Qualification studies

All industry related and recognised qualifications qualify as CPD. A copy of your qualification certificate or a letter of attendance signed by your tutor will be required as evidence.

Maximum hours that may be claimed for this activity: 30 hours

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