This is a question I often get asked so I thought I would make a page to share my thoughts and advice.
The question itself is very vague, because ultimately there are many different types of even plumbing courses available to enrol in and the people who have asked me have varying personal situations.
Evening plumbing courses will generally be worth it for you if you:
- Are already in full time employment and can’t commit to anything more intensive.
- Are in no rush to become qualified.
- Can afford to pay for the courses out right (as opposed to the subsidized approach of apprenticeships).
- Are over the age of 21 and hence are less attractive to apprenticeship employers (reduced subsidies).
Evening courses will probably not be optimal for you if you:
- Need to make an immediate career change.
- Have enough energy to travel, engage and study after a day’s work (if that’s applicable to you).
- Do not intend to go in a specialized area of plumbing as evening courses tend to be absolute bare bones qualifications.
- and obviously if you’re already working/have commitments in the evenings (that’s a no brainer).
Another thing that you have to take into account when assessing these courses are the qualifications/certification you would obtain from said courses. At the very least make sure these courses are offering NVQ levels 1 and 2 in plumbing or City and Guilds level 1 and 2 in plumbing. Without these basic qualifications, you will not find employment anywhere. If you can find a
course that extends to level 3 NVQ/C&G and no/little extra cost then that’s a winning course. You man even find courses that offer. You may even find courses that offer more specific qualifications such as: ‘Part ‘L’ Energy Efficiency‘, ‘Part ‘P’ Electrical Competence Scheme‘, Water Regulations certification in Unvented Domestic Hot Water Storage Systems‘, ‘Disinfection of Water Systems‘ and ‘Solar Domestic Hot Water Heating‘. These kinds of qualifications are beyond the basic requirements to find employment however are very useful in broadening your horizions and increasing your earnings potentials.
I asked a former employee of mine his opinion on evening classes, this is what he had to say:-
Asif: “I attended evening classes for 3 nights a week for 2 years at my local college here in Peterborough and only have good things to say about my experience. I learned everything I could have hoped to learn about and gained both the first 2 NVQ levels in plumbing. I found work within 2 months of finishing my courses, which was especially relieving considering the state of the economy back then was frightful.
My employer has never looked down on me for taking a less traditional route to my qualification nor have any of my peers.
The course was fairly demanding on my energy levels as I was working 40 hours a week in a frozen food factory, but certainly worth the effort. My lifestyle now is 10x more satisfying than it was back then and I have absolutely no regrets.”