Top eight skills every apprentice needs

apprenticeship competition

In Apprenticeships

GCSE results day may be a little different this year, but across the nation young people will still be waiting with a mix of excitement and dread to see what their grades hold. For those who hit their targets and move into vocational education, it won’t be long until they find out they’ll need to hone a number of different skills in the workplace.

Some will discover they have natural aptitudes they didn’t even know they possessed, while others will have to work hard to develop the mindset and skills that can help them go far in their chosen industry.

The world of plumbing and heating is no different and so the CIPHE has complied our top eight skills every apprentice needs:

1) A head for numbers

Like it or loathe it, maths is an engrained part of a plumbing and heating engineer’s role. Whether you need number skills for measuring, calculating aspects such as heat loss or giving quotes for customers, you’ll need a sound head for numbers to work in the industry.

2) An analytical mind

You will spend a vast amount of time problem solving when you enter the plumbing and heating industry. Your services will be most in demand when systems go wrong, so rational thinking and an analytical mind will take you far.

3) Visual-spatial awareness

You will need to understand and follow detailed technical drawings and plans to scale. As your education and career develops you’ll also become involved in designing systems. The ability to take what is on a 2D piece of paper and apply it to real life is a skill you need to develop both quickly and effectively. Attention to detail is an absolute must!

4) Practical skill

You will need to master physical skills such as working with a range of tools and materials. A steady hand, dexterity and a good eye for detail will be crucial. Practice will always make perfect, so be prepared to put hard work and effort in to master those skills.

5) Diplomacy, social and communication skills

If you are planning on working in the domestic sector, then good social skills are key. You are entering people’s homes and so a friendly, open, polite and professional demeanour will make a huge difference to how a customer perceives your service. It’s vital to develop communication and diplomacy skills too – most complaints occur due to poor communication – so hone them from the start of your career and you’ll be on the right path to delivering outstanding customer care.

6) Maturity and common sense

While we all like a laugh here and there, workplace injuries are an occupational hazard in the construction industry. You need to work safely and sensibly and not just for your own sake, but for the health and safety of your colleagues and clients too. Common sense and a good dollop of maturity beyond your years will help your career go far.

7) Patience and dedication

It takes time and patience to learn all the skills you need and to understand the harder technical aspects of the trade. There will be times when tasks frustrate you, or when a particular theory just isn’t sticking in your head so you will need the ability to persevere. You will also need to develop a dedication to lifelong learning as the pace of technological and regulatory change in the industry can be swift. Expect to have to learn new techniques and technologies throughout your career.

8) Professionalism

Being professional isn’t just about your experience and skills, or the qualifications you hold. It’s about your attitude to work, the industry and your clients. Professionals have a trusted air of authority and take pride in their work. They don’t cut corners. They don’t take risks. They work in line with Water and Building Regulations. They respect their client’s property. They communicate well. They strive for knowledge and keep their skills up-to-date.

You can get your career off on the right foot by becoming a Trainee Member of the Chartered Institute of Plumbing & Heating Engineering (CIPHE), the professional body for the plumbing and heating industry. And if your college is one of the CIPHE’s Approved Training Centre’s you may be able to join for free! Find out more by emailing or phoning 01708 463116.