I’m plumbing rich! How trades people are becoming the UK’s top earners

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Trainee plumbers, electricians and bricklayers are trading up from the old-fashioned beer-money image of local builders and are becoming among the top earners in the UK.

A new study shows that trades people now earn well above the national average once they are qualified.

Research by Screwfix says that the highest earners will be plumbers and electricians, who could pocket at least £30,000 a year. The average annual salary of a tradesperson will be more than £27,500 by 2022.

However, the average UK salary is expected to go up to only £25,009.

Graham Bell, chief executive of Screwfix, said: “The research supports our belief that a trade apprenticeship is a strong career choice for young people in this country.

“Apprenticeships lead to careers in highly skilled jobs, which are in high demand and therefore attract a healthy, competitive salary.

“For young people starting out they offer a great career choice without the burden of large debts from university fees.”

It comes after it was revealed one London plumber takes home an amazing £210,000 a year.

Stephen Fry, 34, lives in Kensington, West London, and goes on holiday to the Maldives. He started by  unblocking toilets and fixing leaky taps.

He is reported as saying: “Every day is fun. You can go to a place where some woman has water gushing through the ceilings and is crying, so it’s a nice feeling when you stop the water and make her happy.

“‘I can’t really see myself stopping any time soon, to be honest. I enjoy my work.”

Meanwhile, students at Europe’s leading trades school recently finished rebuilding an old 1960s office block for Screwfix under a revolutionary training scheme backed by celebrity builder Tommy Walsh.

Engineering Real Results, the largest trades training organisation in the UK, has been buying up neglected and derelict properties in a multi-million pound move giving tradespeople of all ages a way round restrictive Government legislation which forces them to beg for unpaid work.

The scheme allows the trade students to comply with Government rules which demand apprentices carry out 100 hours practical training.

Now, under the new scheme, they can complete their qualifications in as little as six weeks rather than years.

Ground Force star Tommy told guests at the opening of the new Screwfix carbon neutral warehouse and store at Brookfield Trade Park, Lincoln Road. Peterborough, how  Engineering Real Results, the largest trades training organisation in the UK, has been buying up neglected and derelict properties in a multi-million pound move giving tradespeople of all ages a way round restrictive Government legislation which forces them to beg for unpaid work.

And now, the offices they have rebuilt from the wreckage are destined to house Screwfix’s first carbon ‘Zero’ warehouse and shop.

The scheme is highlighted after  Philip Hammond said in his Budget speech that  the government will build 300,000 new homes a year. But the chancellor said there was no “single magic bullet” to increase housing supply.

But Ground Force star Tommy said: “The Government’s commitment to building hundreds of thousands of homes is threatened by skill shortages.  Britain has plenty of young people ready to build a new life for  their families by learning a trade but they come up against a brick wall  when it comes to completing their skills-set – they need practical experience to prove they can do the job and they find it very difficult to get.”

It is 25 years since Peterborough was designated as one of four UK environment cities and nine years since Peterborough City Council adopted the target of creating the UK’s ‘Environment Capital’. The city is said to be well on its way to meeting its target for air quality.

Dr Jan Telensky, the financial angel behind the scheme, said there have been thousands of new construction jobs this year as builders attempt to meet Government targets – but apprentices who spent years learning to become plumbers, gas fitters, bricklayers and electrician have been missing out because of the legislation.

He said: “Our own apprentices were losing out. This new scheme, New Vocational Quickstart, involves renovating properties across the country and enables them to get there NVQ in just weeks instead of years.”

The company has also been buying properties in Watford, Cardiff, Stoke on Trent, Southampton, Featherstone in Yorkshire, Livingstone, West Lothian, Cardiff, Basildon and Wolverhampton.

Paul Senior, chairman of the National Federation of Builders, also backed the scheme, saying: “Anything to provide training and experience to young construction students is a very good thing. The industry is very dependent on up-to-date skills and experience and we welcome innovative solutions such as Engineering Real Results.”

Ricky Sharma,  director of the Dr Telensky’s development business, said: “We worked closely with Screwfix  to develop the unit  as their first carbon neutral store in the UK. This gave our innovative construction training scheme another chance to show how it works in  plumbing, electrics, gas and renewables. The unit has been developed using PV panels on the roof which power the electric operated lighting and heating system.”


Consumer Watch Foundation

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