02 Oct 17:00 by Alejandro Rodriguez Garcia


Without work based learning, training in plumbing is as useful as learning to drive in a car park and never going out on the road.

It doesn’t matter that your workshop training was brilliant, if you don’t have the opportunity to hone your skills in real life, you won’t gain a full qualification and you won’t have enough experience to become a good (never mind great) plumber.

This is why training from the vast majority of private training institutions and many construction colleges can be a waste of time and money and why many training institutions are being investigated and going to the wall.

If you’re considering a course ask what they’ll do to ensure you will be able to gain practical, in the world, experience*. Do not settle for vague answers.

There’s insufficient connection between the industry and education. Most trainees are left to find placements alone and from their position of being totally unconnected in the industry are on a hiding to nothing.

Without enough quality work based learning you won’t be able to complete your portfolio or be assessed, so won’t be able to qualify. Small wonder many leave college unqualified and half-trained.

To plug this leak some colleges now insist trainees have placements before they begin training, but few employers are prepared to take the risk of taking on partially trained employees, never mind committing to someone who hasn’t even begun training. If they do, who’s to say they can teach, if they can find the time?

Plumber training has just been changed in an attempt to fix this by cobbling the two sections of training together but still is completely missing the point.

If this is not addressed so called ‘rogue traders’ and ‘cowboys’ will continue to be churned out.

Without a dedicated mentoring system within the workplace such as that provided by Stopcocks Women Plumbers we’re dependent on an out-dated system of apprenticeships where trainees lucky enough to gain places can earn the princely sum of £10 a day!

Failed and isolated by a crumbling system, Stopcocks Women Plumbers and their innovative partners appear to be the only people taking a proper look at what’s happening in training and creating a genuine solution by mentoring trainees and plumbers trained in the workshop so they can gain experience, the necessary skills and that other essential, confidence they can do the job.

No one else is doing this.

If you’re looking into training it’s essential you find out how you are going to gain skills and confidence in the workplace and a formally recognised qualification. Do this before you start or you could find you’ve just wasted several months and £6000+.

*Called: placement, apprenticeship, job, volunteering

For further information on the City & Guilds NVQ Diploma 6189 please contact Stopcocks on 0800 862 0010 quoting Cross-Deck.  Or please visit the website