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Case study - MD

MD decided to get into plumbing after reading an article in the Guardian newspaper about the shortage of plumbers. She decided that it was a career path she wanted to follow because:

Having recently had some plumbing done at home she realised how little she knew about the plumbing in her own house;

After watching Rogue Traders on TV she realised the bad reputation "cowboys" were giving the plumbing industry and decided that she wanted to be part of an industry that addressed this issue;

Coming from an academic background she realised that the skills shortage in this country was in part down to her, so she decided to improve her own trade skills;

MD loves water & warmth especially in the winter, and enjoys the ability to "sort out her own plumbing";

The population as a whole are becoming older & from a female perspective many females are divorced, living longer or are happily single so she felt there was a niche market for her to get a foothold in the industry.

Initially she felt that in order to make herself more competitive that she would do a distance-learning course in plumbing & this was where the "Learn Plumbing" course became invaluable…

MD had a difficult time finding a college that would take her, (many thought she was ringing up on behalf of her son!). She even had to sit a basic numeracy & literacy test, (despite being qualified to Masters Degree level and a qualified teacher/Head of Department). While all of her male classmates were being paid as apprentices she was paid nothing for 2 yrs BUT despite this she managed to find work experience, and felt that the value of this far outweighed the financial benefit she was receiving at the time.

Eventually MD gained paid employment as plumber in Orpington just after she achieved her NVQ level 2 (in June 2005). Since then she has become CORGI registered after passing her ACS gas assessments.

In May 2006 MD won HVCA Apprentice of the year, she received her award at the Governor Hotel London!

Case study - DL

Although a successful IT project manager, DL had become bored with the work, and decided to change career, and after reading articles in the media, a suggestion from his girlfriend, plus the fact that his family worked in the building industry, and this had given him a little experience, DL decided to change career to plumbing...

DL enrolled on the Learn Plumbing Installation Theory Course in February and completed the course in October of the same year. Since then he has increased his skills and now employs 7 people undertaking installation and refurbishment work in and around London E14. All in all DL is glad he changed career, and he says "I couldn't have done it without the Learn Plumbing Installation Theory Course... I would not be where I am today without it. I would have had to spend two years in college and I couldn't have afforded that..."

Case study - SH

After spending 25 or so years in manufacturing as an apprentice trained mechanical engineer, SH decided for a partial career change into plumbing, as plumbing appeared to have similarities with his previous training and experiences. For example: dealing with pumps, valves, pipework, and installation work. He tried the local colleges, but they didn't offer suitable part time courses for a fully employed mature student, and he knew that the 'become a plumber in 5 days' style of training, would not equip him fully to start his own business. This is why the Learn Plumbing course appealed, it gave him the theory and actual qualifications he needed to back up his training and experiences as an engineer. It also allowed him to study at his own pace, and by doing so gain a better understanding of the subject matter. SH found that his tutor was always very helpful either by 'phone or email, on parts of the course where he needed assistance and further input. Each module completed also had feedback from the tutor where he indicated areas if needed to take further actions. The course covered all aspects of practical plumbing needed and gave him the knowledge and confidence to set up his own plumbing business. SH says: "The learning curve has been almost a vertical line, but I always have the course notes to refer back to, and especially during the early days of the business, I would go to a job or quote and think I've not come across this before but I know where I have the information!"

SH is now in his fourth year of trading, and he finds that most work now comes from repeat business or word of mouth recommendations. It varies from a simple tap washer replacement, through to full heating system installation and the design and installation of disabled facilities for a local village hall, all of which are covered in the courses. SH says: “Many thanks to Learn Plumbing for the knowledge it has given me...”

Case study - AA

AA worked in the quality control department of a factory, but became bored with the routine. As he did not enjoy the work he decided to try to change his career. He tried to enrol at a college, but there wasn’t a place available for him, so he used the Internet to see if he could find a course that would enable him to get the knowledge and skills he needed in a way that would fit in with his family commitments. He decided that the Learn Plumbing Installation Theory Course was his best option and started retraining by distance learning. At first he found studying to be very hard – particularly the jargon used, but he persisted, and made full use of the telephone help line for student support. Once he had completed the theory he started his practical training, attending workshops and building up his skills and confidence. Even though he sometimes doubted his abilities he started to get some experience and develop a small business, by asking his friends and family to see if they knew of anyone who needed to have simple plumbing maintenance and installation work done. Over a period of time he gradually built up his tool kit, his skills, his experience, and his confidence and the range of work he could do. He also created his portfolio of evidence and had this assessed during this time. Sometimes he felt nervous to start with, but now he has confidence in his knowledge and practical ability and has achieved his NVQ in plumbing at level 2, and is currently working towards the level 3…

Case study - IEB

IEB worked as a plumber in Ghana before coming to UK; he lived in London and worked on domestic plumbing mainly for some years before moving to Leeds. In Leeds things became a bit difficult as it was hard to get customers for his business…

“So, I went to two or three agencies; but these were reluctant to register me all, despite me having a JIB card, because I did not have an NVQ. I then tried to enrol at college but could not.

I did not know my left-hand from my right-hand in terms of British plumbing until I came across the web site of Learn Plumbing where I realised that I can do professional development. After completing some courses I phoned and discussed my situation with Brian Curry. He advised me on what to do and since then I have not been short of work. I have now achieved my NVQ Level 2 in Plumbing. I have also passed the Water Regulation, and Part P Electrics Certificates. At present I am about to do my energy efficiency, unvented hot water system and solar heating and then specialised in solar heating.

I recommend to any one who wants to do any professional development, or get started in plumbing or anyone who needs any advice about plumbing training to visit his web site. Without his support, I wouldn’t have got to where I am today…”

Case study - RB

RB worked as a jobbing builder undertaking property repairs and plumbing maintenance and installation work for many years without a formal qualification; RB decided that he needed a qualification in plumbing to enable him to join a registered plumbing scheme so that he could take advantage of the facility to self-certify any work that he did that came under the remit of the Building Regulations. Because he was already proficient with the practical side of plumbing he decided that distance learning would be the most efficient way for him to make sure that his theory knowledge was up to scratch. Once he had completed the first module of the Installation Theory Course he knew what he had to do to create his portfolio of site evidence to prove his experience and competence, and was able to begin the assessment process. He soon had enough evidence to approach an assessment centre and within a few months had achieved his NVQ...

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