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Plumber

by Staff Reporter
If you enjoy problem solving, have the ability to make use of a toolbox and you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty then a career as a Plumber could be for you.

Career Overview

Plumbers are responsible for installing, examining and repairing pipes that carry water, gases, and waste in and out of buildings.  Plumbing is a very physical job and it option requires you to get your hands dirty. Their daily tasks can range from installing washing machines and unblocking drains to more technical work like inspecting equipment and detecting leaks.

Required School Subjects

There are no compulsory subjects needed to study Plumbing; however, it is recommended that you take the following:

  • English
  • Pure Mathematics OR Mathematical Literacy
  • Life Orientation

Institution and APS

The following institutions are highly recommended for students wanting to become a Plumber:

  • S.A. Plumbing Trade School – No specific APS required
  • Eastcape Training Centre – No specific APS required
  • Northlink College
  • False Bay College

Please note that TVET Colleges generally do not require a specific APS

Required Qualification/s

Most plumbers learn their skills through apprenticeship programmes, where they get formal and practical on-the-job training. To fully qualify as a plumber, you need to take the industry Trade Test and then register with the Plumbing Industry Registration Board (PIRB).  You will be able to train at one of the abovementioned institutions and get qualified.  Here is more detail on the programmes you will be able to complete at these institutions:

S.A. Plumbing Trade School

  • Basic Plumbing Course
    • Applicants must be 16 years and older and able to read and write in English.
    • No plumbing experience required but previous plumbing experience is advantageous.
    • This course is an introduction to plumbing. For more advanced plumbing skills, it is recommended to take the Advanced Plumbing Course, highlighted below.
  • Advanced Plumbing Course
    • Applicants must be 16 years and older and able to read and write in English.
    • No experience required but previous plumbing experience would be advantageous.
    • After completing this course, you will obtain the necessary credits prescribed by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) which will allow you to apply for your Trade Test.
  • National Plumbing Course
    • This course is accredited by the QCP (SDP 1220/16/032) and Construction CETA (5K5982)
    • After completing this course, you will be a qualified plumber

Eastcape Training Centre

  • Apprentice Plumbing
    • 60 days
    • Suited for people with no experience in plumbing.
    • After course completion, you will still need to do 2 years of work experience before you can do the Trade Test.
  • Apprentice Plumbing: Experienced Learner
    • 45 days
    • Suited for people with a minimum of 2 years working experience in plumbing.
    • After course completion, you will still need to do 2 years of work experience before you can do the Trade Test.

Northlink College

  • Competency-Based Modular Training (CBMT): Plumbing
    • Accredited by the Construction Education and Training Authority (CETA)

False Bay College

  • Competency-Based Modular Training (CBMT): Plumbing
  • Once you have completed this course, you will be to apply for your Trade Test.

Required Skills

You will need to have the following skills to succeed as a Plumber:

  • Good verbal communication skills
  • Physical strength and dedication
  • Critical thinking skills
  • The ability to analyse problems, determine the cause(s) and come up with a solution

Where you can work

As a Plumber, you could specialise in one of the following areas:

  • Water supply
  • Sanitary plumbing
  • Roofing
  • Gasfitting
  • Drainage
  • Mechanical Services
  • Pipe laying
  • Pipefitting
  • Steamfitting
  • Sprinklerfitting

Working Hours

Generally speaking, work will run from 9am-5pm (40 hours a week). There will, however, be times where a job will take slightly longer than expected in which case these hours would increase.

Expected Salary

According to PayScale, the average pay for a Plumber in South Africa ranges between R49k – R233k per year, depending on experience.

What to expect

Here are a few things you can expect from a career as a Plumber:

  • A lot of physical work where you will need to cut, bend and install pipes.
  • Having jobs spread out around different businesses and homes, you will be in the car a lot.
  • A lot of on-the-job training. Although you need to get formal training, a lot of the practical aspect of plumbing on only learned on different jobs.
  • Plumbing is about problem solving. As a result, a major part of the job is communicating with people, offering sound advice and reassurance.

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