Plenty of jobs and great earning potential: PLUMBING!
Plumbing is a great career pathway for people who love solving problems, working hard on a variety of tasks and are keen on a career where they can earn plenty of cash as they progress.
We caught up with Hamilton-based recent winner of the Waikato Region Plumbing World Young Plumber of the Year Cody Hall for his best advice about getting into the trade…
“Jump on it! If you’re a bit hesitant, you could do pre-trade first to see if it’s for you, but don’t be scared of crap jobs at the start! (Yes, I mean literally.) They are inevitable, but they become less as you progress.”
It’s fun, it’s different and by the age of 30 your financial position will be better than a medical graduate!
Certifying Plumber, Gas fitter, Drainlayer
Plumbers, gasfitters and drainlayers work in varied locations and every job is different. Work involves putting pipe systems in new houses, renovating older houses or working on commercial job sites. It’s fun, it’s different and you learn a lot! You earn an income while you learn and when you finish your training your debt will be minimal.
There’s also huge earning potential for a plumber – by age 30 your income and financial position will be better than a medical graduate! Plumbing also pays a very good salary if you are self-employed so the rewards are there if you put in the hard work. One day you could be running a successful business and won’t even need to get your hands dirty on the tools! It’s an awesome place to be.
What makes a great plumber? Someone who is:
» A fast learner
» Good at solving problems
» A good communicator and listener
» Relatively fit
A Chat with Cody about his role
Certifying Plumber, Gas fitter, Drainlayer at CF Reese Plumbing Hamilton
What is plumbing all about?
We pretty much look after anything from a leaky tap to re-roofing a building, to working on our massive boiler systems… there’s such massive variety in our trade. There’s a bit of electrical, a bit of building, a bit of engineering – that’s mainly why I got into it, there’s just massive variety!
What does your role involve?
I mainly look after our key accounts which are our big commercial clients. We do work on substations which you wouldn’t think a plumber would be on! That’s good fun and it’s really opened my eyes up to a lot of different areas of the trade that people can specialise in. That’s another great thing about plumbing; there are so many niche areas you can specialise in – like industrial gas fitting or home automation.
How do you progress in plumbing?
You go through your apprenticeship then sit some exams to get your trades licence, then you wait two years do some more exams and then you’ve got your certifying level which means you can sign off your own work, work for yourself and sign off important documents for jobs.
I’ve also done a Certificate in Small Business which has really helped with my career, especially with managing clients and sites.
What are some of the things you’ve learnt on the job?
Patience is definitely a big one, especially when you’re training apprentices! My people skills have definitely improved. When I first started, I was as shy as can be, didn’t want to talk to anyone – but now I’m quite happy talking to everyone, I might event get up on stage or go in front in of camera.
I’ve learnt a lot of technical stuff. Plumbing’s even helped me with working on my own cars and stuff like that because it gives insight into how things work. My problem solving skills have definitely improved.
What kind of person is suited to this kind of work?
Someone that’s naturally good with their hands is definitely a bonus. Someone that wants to learn, loves learning new things. Someone who can nut out problem and work their way through the steps instead of just following a manual. A lot of our job involves having to figure it out for yourself and see what the problem is, there’s not always a book for everything.
What do you like most about your role?
Definitely the variety! I’m one of those people that gets bored easily and I can’t say I’ve had that with plumbing at all. Yeah, you get some days a little bit repetitive but it’s still different every day.
What are some of the challenges and how have you overcome them?
I’ve definitely had some difficult customers! Sometimes you get jobs that really challenge you and you start to get overwhelmed. But if you’ve got the support around you, you can work your way through it and you can learn from it.
What do you wish you knew before you left school?
I wish I knew to ask more questions – definitely didn’t ask as many questions as I should of back then! Just any job you see someone doing: “how does that work? What are you doing there?”
Just simple questions to get as much information as possible. I’ll admit that back then I used to say “oh yeah I’ve got that, I’ll figure that out” instead of saying “oh hang out, how do I do that?” – would’ve saved me a lot of mistakes!
What would your advice be for young people considering a career in plumbing?
Jump on it! If you’re a bit hesitant, you could do pre-trade first to see if it’s for you, but don’t be scared of crap jobs at the start! (Yes, I mean literally.) They are inevitable, but they become less as you progress.
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. That’s why Young Plumbers is such a good thing!
Can you tell us more about Young Plumbers?
It’s a competition for young people in our trade to test out their skills against all their mates. It’s a really good way to meet other young people in your trade. I’ve actually met quite a few good mates through it, and suppliers, because you actually build a relationship with them instead of just talking over the phone. You compete for prizes, and you get tools and stuff. In the finals you can win thousands of dollars-worth of tools.
Top Career Tip
“I wish I knew to ask more questions – definitely didn’t ask as many questions as I should of back then! Just any job you see someone doing: “how does that work? What are you doing there?”
Just simple questions to get as much information as possible. I’ll admit that back then I used to say “oh yeah I’ve got that, I’ll figure that out” instead of saying “oh hang out, how do I do that?” – would’ve saved me a lot of mistakes!”
At least another 2000 plumbers are needed nationwide to meet the current demand. So, with the help of Plumbing World New Zealand, two well-known Kiwi tradies have been travelling the country in a campervan in a bid to inspire the next generation.
Reporter Jordan Oppert joined ‘Tradies Up Tour’ to find out what they’re all about.
YOUNG PLUMBERS – WHAT IS IT?
Launched in 2014, Young Plumbers is focused on upskilling, engaging and supporting the next generation of plumbers, gas fitters and drain layers. It’s no secret, a large proportion of the plumbing industry is set to retire in the coming decade so now’s the time to put your hand up as one of our future leaders and get to know the industry at a deeper level.
Spearheaded by Plumbing World, Young Plumbers is focused on future-proofing the NZ plumbing industry – starting out as a social club for local tradies. With Plumbing World behind the programme running events in local areas it has since become so much more than just a place to grab a bite and a drink.
Working with industry suppliers, well known international and national brands, and plumbers and tradespeople, Plumbing World’s whole aim is to support the NZ Plumbing industry and add value to your business and developing career. Young Plumbers was created to get our valued young industry members more involved in the industry’s ongoing development.
OUR VISION – THRIVING TRADIES, BOOMING INDUSTRY
Building a career and business can be daunting, so Young Plumbers is here to help the next generation of tradespeople find their place in the industry faster. By working together right from the start we can collectively build our industry to better support everyone’s long-term future.
The aim? A vibrant industry where businesses and trade careers thrive, and positively contribute to the overall NZ economy.
Find out more at youngplumbersclub.co.nz »