No pot of gold down the drains

27th May 2005 at 01:00
The myth of soaring wages for plumbers and shortages in the industry is just that - a myth.

A paper on the supply and demand for training among plumbers, compiled by the Scottish Further Education Funding Council, says that plumbers do not command higher than average salaries, at least in Scotland.

Reports of plumbers earning pound;50,000 a year relate largely to London or to specialists on large projects such as the Scottish Parliament, the council's research found. Average gross annual earnings for full-time plumbers and heating and ventilation engineers are not high - pound;24,995.

The paper also refutes claims of a shortage of plumbers which, it says, may well be due to householders' experiences of being unable to find a plumber in an emergency or out of hours.

"There is a danger that learners may make choices based on incorrect perceptions," it states. "Policy-makers also need to have access to the best available evidence."

The paper found that plumbing has a relatively high share of hard-to-fill vacancies in the construction industry in general, but it is not the worst affected trade. Painting companies, for example, had 300 hard-to-fill vacancies in 2003, according to the Scottish Construction Skills Survey, while plumbing had 142.

Some 1,382 students enrolled on plumbing courses in 17 FE colleges last year, compared with 775 in 1998-99. Last year's intake ranged from 164 in Cardonald College to 31 in Dumfries and Galloway College.

Almost three-quarters of plumbing firms offered their own training, compared to a construction industry average of 51 per cent.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now