Plumbers in the NHS make sure that plumbing and heating systems are safe and in good working order.

This page has information on the role of a plumber in the NHS, including entry requirements and skills needed. 

Working life

The NHS relies on water supplies, drainage and heating. They are all essential to keep hospitals and other NHS buildings safe and working efficiently.

As a plumber in the NHS, your work includes

Who will I work with?

You'll often work alongside other estates services staff such as electricians, carpenters and bricklayers. You may travel between sites in an NHS vehicle or your own van.

While plumbers are working inside a building, staff and patients may be there, but they do not have direct contact with healthcare staff or patients.

Plumbers may work for building services contractors which are providing services to the NHS.

Entry requirements

There are no set entry requirements but employers expect plumbers to have a qualification and experience in plumbing and/or heating and ventilation.

To train as a plumber, you usually need at least three GCSEs (or equivalent) including maths, English and science. Employers may ask for some experience in construction or other practical work. An apprenticeship in an estates support role can provide this.

Employers may ask for a driving licence.

Skills needed

Plumbers need to be

Training and development 

When you start as a trainee plumber, your training will include

You will be expected to study for qualifications such as NVQs. You may also be encouraged to become multi-skilled by training in, for example, painting and decorating or tiling.

Plumbers can join the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering and apply for chartered status.

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