Career Advice: So you want to be a Plumber ?

career advice-how to become a plumber in south africa
Plumbers work on projects that range from household repairs to large commercial installations

Plumber jobs

Plumber jobs summary of duties:

Assemble, install and repair water supply, gas, drainage, sewerage, ventilation, and heating systems in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. They lay pipes and install sanitary services such as showers, sinks, baths, and toilets, as well as the fixtures that enable their use. Plumbers also undertake maintenance work as part of routine servicing and emergency repairs. Duties of a plumber may also include installing water-based fire protection systems like fire hydrants, hose reels, and sprinkler systems. Plumbers can find work anywhere around the world!

As a plumber you would need:

  • To be good with your hands,
  • The ability to work in confined spaces,
  • Organisational skills,
  • Problem-solving skills,
  • The ability to work on detailed and intricate projects,
  • To be able to work at heights,

Plumber jobs: Working environment & Salaries

Plumbers work on projects that range from household repairs to large commercial installations. Their work may be dirty and unsanitary and may get dirty themselves. As a plumber, you will work both indoors or outdoors. Usually, they work regular business hours, but some plumbers may be on call 24 hours a day to attend to emergencies.

On average, in South Africa plumbers can expect to earn an average salary of R 117,588 per year, depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience.

Many plumbers are self-employed and/or work as part of a team as a sub-contractor. Earnings for sub-contractors or small business operators will depend on their level of skill and experience, the level of demand for their services, as well as the amount of work completed.

Tools & Technologies

Plumbers use a number of tools in their daily work, such as wrenches, spanners, saws, cutters, and drills. They cut, bend, join and fix materials such as lead, copper, aluminum, plastic, zinc, and iron. Plumbers use welding equipment for joining pipes and drainage machinery to clear drains, and may also use electrical equipment such as pipe-threading machines. As a plumber, you will be required to wear safety equipment such as steel-capped boots, earmuffs, safety glasses, and overalls.

Education & Training

To become a plumber you usually need to complete an apprenticeship. Generally speaking, you should allow two years for your training. This applies to both apprenticeships and to learnerships. In each case, there will be a number of units or areas in which an apprentice plumber would be expected to be proficient and knowledgeable. In each case, they will be tested to ensure they are able to perform to the high standards demanded of plumbers.

There is another way into the profession as well. This involves you working as an assistant to a plumber over a period of time. This is a good hands-on way to learn the ropes from a qualified plumber, so you can gain on-site experience that you can use to pass the required tests later on. This will still take time to achieve, and you will still need to pass the trade test successfully in order to be deemed to be a qualified plumber. But it is another way into the profession that might prove useful if you already have experience and you need the qualification.

There are quite a few colleges/training centers that do offer Plumbing courses, but please do your homework first and be sure that they are accredited by relevant authorised industry organisations such as CETA – TVET colleges also offer recognised training, have a look here for Information for school leavers: TVET COLLEGES

Plumber Jobs: Apprenticeships & Learnerships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded with a nationally recognised qualification.

The advantage of applying for an apprenticeship or learnership is that you can get paid while you learn and work!

Browse through our job vacancies to see if there are any plumber jobs available.