Heating and ventilation fitter

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Mark Smith installs and maintains central heating installations in a variety of areas and situations. He works in domestic and commercial property schools and hospitals.

What is involved in this type of work?

I have to determine where the boiler and the radiators are to be installed and then ensure that the pipework can be put in place. Heating that involves water circulation is the job of a plumber. Boilers may be gas or electric so, at that point gas fitters or electricians will be involved.

I then hang the radiators and install the pipework. I have to check that the boiler is connected and is functioning properly before testing the pipework and the radiators.

Maintenance work on older systems is mainly a problem of finding out where the fault lies.

Where do you usually work?

At the moment I am installing radiators in a local college of further education and in a church. I also have to find time to work in a private house in a nearby village. Basically, I could be working in any premises that requires non-electrical heating.

How did you get into this work?

I originally worked as a welder but decided to change crafts. The local careers centre suggested that I retrain as a plumber so I obtained a job as a trainee and started an NVQ course at college. I have obtained NVQ Level 1 in Plumbing and am now attending a training centre one day each week to get NVQ Level 2.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the job?

I enjoy the on-the-job training and assistance from colleagues and the satisfaction of seeing a job well done. However, the first thing you do on any job is to get down on your knees. You spend so much time in cramped situations that your muscles ache so you need to be fit.

What skills and qualities are needed?

Basic common sense really. You must be skillful with your hands and be careful and conscientious. Many people will rely on your work after you have left and carelessness could cause accidents.

Mark's route to his job as a heater fitter

  • GCSEs.
  • Worked as a welder before retraining as a plumber.
  • NVQ Level 1 in Plumbing.
  • Studying for NVQ Level 2.

Mark's heater fitter tips

  • Seriously consider work experience to obtain a craft qualification.
  • Apply early for supporting courses or you may find they are full.

Heater fitter related jobs

  • Plumber
  • Domestic appliance Gas service engineer
  • Technician: Engineering maintenance
  • Maintenance fitter
  • Electrician
  • Building technician

Heater fitter salary

  • Trained fitters can expect to start at about £18,000 rising to £22,000 with experience.
  • Trainees will generally receive around £7.50 an hour with their first NVQ qualification.
  • Many central heating installers are self-employed and pay rates will depend on demand and locality.

Getting a job as a heater fitter

  • It is best to have some GCSEs/S grades (A-D/1-4) in English, maths, science and craft design and technology or a vocational qualification such as a foundation GNVQ/GSVQ Level I in Construction and the Built Environment.
  • There are NVQs in Plumbing which are available at Level 2 and Level 3. The British Plumbing Employers Council (BPEC) provides Learning Support Modules which give help with gaining NVQs/SVQs.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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