How do I become a Plumber?

Are you thinking about the next step in your career and like working with your hands, working independently and have good hand and eye coordination? If this sounds like you, an Australian Apprenticeship in Plumbing might be the perfect step for your career.

This month, we are partnering with Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre (PICAC) to bring you our job of the month, plumbing.

What is a Plumber?

As a Plumber, you could install, maintain and repair pipes, drains, cladding, mechanical services and related equipment for water supply, gas, drainage, sewage, heating and cooling, and other systems.

As a Gas Fitter, you could install, maintain and repair pipes and related equipment and perform limited gas fitting functions.

You also have the option to progress with further training to roles such as Air Conditioning Technician (Plumber), Fire Services Supervisor (Plumber), Plumbing Contractor or Specialist Hydraulic Designer (Plumber).

What can you expect to be doing as an Plumber?

  • Work effectively in the plumbing and services sector
  • Carry out interactive workplace communication
  • Carry out WHS requirements
  • Read plans and calculate plumbing quantities
  • Handle and store plumbing materials
  • Use plumbing hand and power tools
  • Carry out levelling
  • Mark out materials
  • Provide basic emergency life support
  • Weld using oxy-acetylene equipment
  • Weld using manual metal arc welding equipment
  • Carry out simple concreting and rendering
  • Flash penetrations through roofs and walls
  • Weld polyethylene and polypropylene pipes using fusion method
  • Fabricate and install non-ferrous pressure piping
  • Fabricate and install fire hydrant and hose reel systems
  • Connect and install storage tanks to a domestic water supply
  • Work safely on roofs
  • Set out and install water services
  • Install and adjust water service controls and devices
  • Install and commission water heating systems
  • Install water pumpsets
  • Fit off and commission heated and cold water services
  • Connect irrigation systems from drinking water supply
  • Cut and join sheet metal
  • Locate and clear blockages
  • Plan layout of a residential sanitary plumbing system
  • Install discharge pipes
  • Fabricate and install sanitary stacks
  • Install and fit off sanitary fixtures
  • Design domestic urban irrigation systems
  • Set out, install and commission irrigation systems
  • Install and commission domestic irrigation pumps
  • Fabricate and install steel pressure piping
  • Collect and store roof water
  • Install trench support
  • Erect and dismantle restricted height scaffolding
  • Operate elevated work platforms
  • Maintain effluent disinfection systems
  • Select and install roof sheeting and wall cladding
  • Collect and store roof water
  • Receive roofing materials
  • Fabricate and install roof drainage components
  • Fabricate and install external flashings
  • Install roof components
  • Install composite roof systems
  • Work safely at heights
  • Perform routine gas metal arc welding
  • Cut using oxy-LPG-acetylene equipment
  • Fabricate roof coverings for curved structures
  • Assemble mechanical services components
  • Fabricate and install steel pressure piping
  • Install small bore heating systems
  • Install acoustic and thermal environmental protection systems
  • Select and fit insulation and sheathing
  • Install and test split system air conditioning
  • Install air conditioning control equipment
  • Maintain mechanical services equipment
  • Install refrigeration and air conditioning plant and equipment
  • Test, recover, evacuate and charge refrigeration systems
  • Apply Occupational Health and Safety regulations, codes and practices in the workplace
  • Prepare and connect refrigerant tubing and fittings
  • Position, assemble and start up single head split air conditioning and water heating heat pump systems
  • Recover, pressure test, evacuate, charge and leak test refrigerants – split systems

How do I find a job as a Plumber?

If you are wondering how to start an apprenticeship, the first step is to find an employer who will have an open position for you. There are many different ways to find an apprenticeship or traineeship , starting from job search sites online to door-knocking, or via Group Training Organisations. To get started, have a look at these job search sites and look for any open positions that may be advertised.

How can I learn more about this industry?

It is a good idea to network with others in the industry and connect with employers. You can join the Active Apprentices Facebook group and reach out to other apprentices to find out what to expect.

To listen to other apprentices share their experiences of working in this industry, their job hunting experience and more, watch our collection of videos on the MyGain YouTube channel.

If you are interested in becoming a plumber but unsure of whether you have the skills, consider taking a Literacy and Numeracy Quiz. While this is not an assessment tool, it will give you an idea of your skills in relation to the demands of the job.

You might also want to look into doing a pre-apprenticeship course which is like a gateway course into the industry of your choice and provides you with basic skills that will give you a leg-up while looking for an apprenticeship.

What Next?

If you are already a plumber and are wondering what to do next, know that you have many options. The skills you have acquired during your traineeship can be transferred to other jobs.

To interact with other apprentices, and to be the first to know of any open apprenticeship positions, join the Active Apprentices Facebook Group or sign-up for our Careers Bulletin newsletter.

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