Employers – FAQs

Do I need to be a SNIPEF member to take on a plumbing apprentice?

A. No, your business does not need to be a SNIPEF member to use us as your plumbing apprentice's training provider. However, if you are a SNIPEF member and subject to funding you will receive higher grant rates and access of a vast amount of benefits and services which could be very beneficial to your business. For more information on the benefits of SNIPEF membership please download the membership booklet here.

Q. The potential apprentice I have in mind has a disability; can they undertake the plumbing apprenticeship?

A. As long as they are reasonably fit and able in their own best interests to meet the work and safety requirements of the plumbing industry there should be no problem with them starting on the plumbing apprenticeship. The Modern Apprenticeship in Plumbing and Heating operates on the principle of equal opportunities regardless of sex, marital status, race, religion, age and disability.

Q. Are there any grants/funding available for taking on a plumbing apprentice?

A. Funding and grants solely depend on the level of funding we receive from the Scottish Government - Skills Development Scotland. Typically all 16-19 year olds are fully funded which means we will be able to pay a grant payment to the employer once the apprentice has completed their SVQ Level 3 Qualification (typically after the third year at college) and a further grant will be paid out when the apprentice is graded as a plumber by the SNIJIB (typically after the fourth year once the apprentice has served their time).

Due to a shortfall in funding for 20+ individuals at this moment in time we are unable to pay any grants to employers.

Q. I have an apprentice I want to take on. What do I need to do and where do I apply?

A. The first thing that we require is for you and your plumbing apprentice to complete the New Start Application Pack. To request a pack please contact SNIPEF Training Services by emailing training@snipef.org or call 0131 524 1245 

Once the New Start Application Pack has been completed you will need to return this to us so we can register your apprentice on to our training programme and reserve a place for them at their local college.

Q. Can I have a list of individuals who have undertaken a pre-apprenticeship in plumbing?

A. We do not keep a list of individuals who have undertaken the pre-apprenticeship in plumbing, however, your local Regional Training Officer may be aware of some of the individuals who have. To find your local Regional Training Officer please download their contact details form here

You can also contact your local college to find out if they have a pre-apprenticeship course in plumbing and if they would be able to provide you with some of the details of individuals who have attended it. To find your local college please download their contact details form here.

Q. Can you recommend a plumbing apprentice for me to take on? 

A. We cannot recommend a plumbing apprentice for you to employ as we do not keep a list of apprentices looking to start on our training programme, however, one of our Regional Training Officers may be able to advise you of any potential individuals they are aware of in your local area looking for a career in plumbing. To find your local Regional Training Officer please download their contact details form here.

Q. I have hired a redundant apprentice. Are there any grants or funding available?

A. If your plumbing apprentice has been made redundant from a previous plumbing company you may be eligible to apply for the Skills Development Scotland – Adoption Grant. The Skills Development Scotland - Adoption Grant is a one-off payment of £2,000 that is paid directly to you on completion of the relevant paperwork.

For more information on the Skills Development Scotland – Adoption Grant please visit our website here which contains all the relevant application paperwork, eligibility, etc.

Q. I can only afford to employ the apprentice part time; is this acceptable?

A. No. The plumbing apprenticeship is full-time learning both at college and working with an employer. If an individual is not full time then they will not be able to achieve the SVQ Level 3 in Domestic Plumbing and Heating and the SNIJIB will not grade an individual as a plumber.

Q. Can you tell me the rates of pay that I should pay my plumbing apprentice?

A. Apprentices are employed under the terms of the plumbing industry’s apprentice training programme, and this means they will receive the rates of pay and conditions of employment laid down by the SNIJIB. The rates of pay can be downloaded here. You are required to pay your apprentice while they are working with you and when they are attending college.

FAQs for 16-19 year olds

Q. The apprentice I am thinking of employing is 16 years old. Are there any grants or funding available? 

A. We receive full funding for all apprentices from the Scottish Government – Skills Development Scotland for individuals aged 16-19 providing they have not undertaken a previous course that required government funding. Grants are typically paid out once your plumbing apprentice achieves their Modern Apprenticeship SVQ Level 3 and again once your apprentice is graded as plumber by the SNIJIB.

Q. I am thinking of hiring a plumbing apprentice but they are not 16 yet. Can they start on the plumbing apprenticeship? 

A. If your potential apprentice's 16 birthday falls between 1 March and 30 September they can start on the plumbing apprenticeship programme on 1 June. If their 16th birthday is between 1 October and 28 February they can start on the plumbing apprenticeship programme on 23 December. Your potential plumbing apprentice is also required to be eligible to leave school.

FAQs for 20+ year olds

Q. My potential apprentice is over the age of 40. Can they still come on to the training programme?

A. There is no age restriction on our training programme, however, due to a shortfall in funding from the Scottish Government – Skills Development Scotland for individuals aged 20+, we are unable to provide any grants and may require an adult shortfall contribution to help towards the costs of training.

Q. There is an adult shortfall contribution required for my apprentice – who pays this? 

A. If an adult shortfall contribution is required, we do not stipulate who is required to pay this fee. We require the adult shortfall contribution to be paid before the plumbing apprentice starts on our training programme. In the past we have had employers or apprentices pay the amount in full and on some occasions the employer and the apprentice have paid the amount together.

Q. Is the adult shortfall contribution a one-off payment or do I need to pay this every year?

A. The adult shortfall contribution is a one-off payment that is required to be paid before your apprentice starts at college.

In certain circumstances, if your apprentice fails to achieve the required units and modules at college and has to re-sit a year, and if there is not enough funding left from Skills Development Scotland, we may require an additional contribution.

Q. Can I pay the adult shortfall contribution in instalments?

A. The adult shortfall contribution in certain circumstances and agreement from us can be paid in instalments, but please note these instalments need to have been paid in full before your apprentice attends college. Failure of full payment will result in your apprentice not being able to start on our training programme.

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