Getting started - SNIPEF

Getting started

Why choose an apprenticeship?

There are many reasons why you should become an apprentice plumber, such as:

  • Earn while you learn
  • Achieve an accredited qualification
  • It is a lifelong career
  • Great career progression opportunities.

The plumbing apprenticeship is a four-year course with a mixture of on the job training with your employer and off the job training at college. During your apprenticeship, you will learn all the latest skills from experienced industry professionals, while earning your qualifications. You will also have a dedicated regional officer to monitor your progress who will meet regularly with you, your employer and your college.

After you have completed the main part of your plumbing qualification, you and your employer will then decide which solid fuel option you will undertake. The options are ACS Gas, OFTEC Oil, HETAS, Solid Fuel or Low Carbon Technologies.

On completion of a successful apprenticeship, an apprentice will gain the SVQ Level 3 Modern Apprenticeship in Plumbing and Heating, which is the only recognised plumbing qualification in Scotland, and be graded by the Scottish and Northern Ireland Joint Industry Board (SNIJIB) as a plumber.

Entry requirements

The Modern Apprenticeship in Plumbing and Heating is an employer-led qualification meaning you need to be employed directly with a plumbing and heating firm to undertake it. You will need to find a firm to employ you and guide you through the apprenticeship programme.

Potential candidates are expected to have a minimum of four National Four qualifications at general level (previously standard grades). In addition, all candidates must pass the BPEC Aptitude and Selection Test.

You can practice the selection test here.

While there is no age restriction for entry to the Modern Apprenticeship in Plumbing and Heating, restrictions on government funding mean access to the programme depends on suitable funding being available. School or college leavers aged 16-19 will be guaranteed a place, however access to the programme for those aged 20 and above is subject to funding availability.

To be successful as a modern apprentice plumber you must meet employer expectations in terms of:

  • Have good practical, problem-solving and communication skills
  • Be smart, reliable, polite, punctual and able to listen
  • Have a proven ability to achieve and willingness to learn
  • Flexible attitude towards work, be prepared to go the extra mile!
  • Proactive approach and ability to use initiative
  • Pleasant manner when dealing with clients/customers
  • Excellent timekeeping.

Download our guide to becoming an apprentice plumber here

Finding an employer

We recommend you ask around your family and friends to see if they know any plumbing companies that are looking to employ an apprentice plumber.

SNIPEF Training Services is also setting up a database for employers looking to take on an apprentice. If you would like to be listed on this database please fill in our application form

The internet is also a good tool to find a potential employer. If you visit the website, you can enter your postcode and select a distance radius. This will then bring up a list of SNIPEF member companies in your local area that you can contact to see if they are looking to employ an apprentice plumber.

Equal opportunities

The plumbing apprenticeship programme is open to everyone regardless of age, sex, race, religion etc. We are an equal opportunities training provider and welcome all candidates regardless of their backgrounds. Our aim is to help build a more equal and diverse workforce within the plumbing industry in Scotland.

Skills Development Scotland

The employer-led plumbing apprenticeship programme receives contribution funding from Skills Development Scotland (SDS). For more information, please visit the SDS website.

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