Essential tools every apprentice needs

Published: 7th October 2021 Read time: 8 minutes
Tools and parts

Whether you’re starting your career in a trade or you’re entering into another year of learning, let City Plumbing kit you out with all the essential tools you’ll need for your training and beyond.

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship combines practical on-the-job training alongside studying for a formal qualification. By the end of your apprenticeship, you’ll have gained not only the skills and knowledge needed to do the job, but some valuable experience in the role too.

Construction apprenticeships encompass all aspects of the building trade, from plumbing to bricklaying, to town planning and project management.

Apprenticeships are often advertised throughout the year and can be found online, in your college, and on specialist sites like Go Construct – Apprenticeships. Go Construct also has plenty of tips on finding employers, filling out application forms, how to prepare for interviews and much more.

You can also find Gov apprenticeships in construction on the Government’s find an apprenticeship page.

How long do construction apprenticeships take?

There are a number of different apprenticeship levels, so the length of your course will depend on multiple factors, including existing experience, current qualifications and your choice of job role.

Intermediate level 2 - the equivalent of five GCSE passes at grade 9-4 (A*-C).

Advanced level 3 - the equivalent of two A-level passes, Level 3 Diploma or International Baccalaureate.

Higher levels 4, 5, 6 and 7 - the equivalent of a Foundation Degree and above.

Degree level 6 and 7 - the equivalent of a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

An intermediate apprenticeship (level 2) usually takes around two years to complete and is the most common for entry-level Gov apprenticeships.

What’s the difference between a gas engineer, plumber, and heating engineer?

If you’re just starting to research different career paths, it can be confusing to know whether to apply for a plumbing apprenticeship, gas or even heating engineer apprenticeship.

Gas engineer: Gas engineers are the tradesmen that work with gas appliances and anything else that relates solely to gas. They mainly deal with installation, servicing, and repairing gas appliances like gas boilers.

All gas engineers must be registered annually with the Gas Safe Register. Once you are qualified, you should ensure you carry your ID card with you. This will give your customers greater peace of mind when you carry out work for them.

Plumber: Plumbers cannot touch a boiler. They are responsible for the pipework. Mainly installing and maintaining systems used for potable (drinking) water, sewage, and drainage in plumbing systems.

Heating engineers: Heating engineers tend to work alongside gas engineers. They are the next step up from a plumber but are still not qualified to work with gas appliances. Heating engineer apprenticeships tend to be working towards an NVQ.

If you’re looking for more information about becoming a heating or gas engineer, visit our blog for our expert tips.

Is an electrical qualification essential for heating installers?

As the UK looks for ways to reach its carbon neutral commitment by 2050, more and more strategies for renewable heating solutions are being rolled out. The latest one to impact the construction trade will be the gas boiler ban on new build homes from 2025.

The gas boiler ban could see a growth in the installation of electric boilers and heat pumps, making electrician apprenticeships and electrical engineering qualifications a popular choice. By working towards an electrical component qualification as a heating engineer, you’ll be opening yourself up to a greater pool of work – making it a lucrative career choice.

Essential tools for your toolkit

Quality tools are essential for trade jobs, so whether you’re undertaking a plumbing apprenticeship or looking at becoming a gas or heating engineer, it’s important you avoid the “buy cheap, buy twice” mentality.

At City Plumbing, we stock all the quality tools you need for your tool kit, designed to help you get the job done, time after time.

Here are some of our tool kit essentials:

Adjustable pliers: The pliers should have insulated handles making them easy to grip. Regularly check that they open and close smoothly and that the teeth meet in order to grab thin items.

Adjustable wrench: Wrenches are essential for working on supply lines, compression fittings, and other plumbing parts.

Allen keys: Many plumbing jobs will require you to secure taps and shower heads. These appliances often have hexagonal-shaped screws and bolts.

Cordless combi drill: You’ll often need to drill holes, so a cordless one is essential to help you get into tight spots without the need for a power supply.

Gas leak detector: It’s important that plumbers, gas and heating engineers have access to a gas leak detector. They help to establish where the gas leak is and provide you with valuable readings.

Pipe cutters: You’ll need to be able to cut through pipes of all sizes, and pipe cutters offer a cleaner cut compared to using a hacksaw.

Radiator key: You may need to bleed radiators if the boiler’s pressure is too high. Radiator keys are universal, meaning you can bleed all standard radiators.

Screwdrivers: At a bare minimum, you’ll need two Phillips screwdrivers with a #1 and #2 head and several sizes of flat-head screwdrivers.

Torch: You’ll often need to inspect or repair boilers in dark spaces or work with pipes under floorboards, so having a torch can be pretty useful!

Let City Plumbing be your merchant of choice

We’re here to support you throughout your apprenticeship journey and beyond. With a huge range of trade-approved tools and parts, log in or create an account today and discover why City Plumbing is trusted by the trade.

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