It's not always realised just how versatile a plumber's skills can be. It's not all about changing tap washers, unblocking drains and replacing thermostats!

Plumbing embraces a large area of work. Some plumbers work as 'wet only plumbers', dealing with piped systems for water such as fitting bathrooms, radiators and sprinkler systems etc. Others choose to branch out into the gas industry so they can install gas central heating systems along with other wet plumbing systems. To reflect the diversity of applications, there are individual plumbing training courses which can include Home Study and there is now even a course for installing solar energy!

Plumbers can climb the heights in their work - quite literally! Fixing sheet lead weathering around a chimney stack is a skilled job more commonly associated with builders and roofers, but did you know that plumbers are also trained to do the very same job? From flat roofs, chimney stack flashing and roof valley gutters to porch canopies and external dormers, working out the precise dimensions and correct angles to ensure a neat, secure and a totally lead-lined weatherproof structure is another skilled service that a fully trained plumber can provide.

Working the lead and forming the shapes is a distinct craft in itself, and requires handling special shaping tools - and patience!

And of course, sealing lead sheeting means correct welding knowledge and use. So plumbing also means learning how to carefully operate and use welding equipment. Before welding was developed, metals were joined together by riveting or by a blacksmith heating the metal to a very high temperature when hammering or pressing together. Today, oxy-acetylene brazing, bronze and fusion( lead) welding is used daily by plumbers, mostly for roof lead work and connecting copper pipes.

The everyday work of a plumber is in reality, a variety of interesting and absorbing activities, all of which are introduced to training candidates on whatever particular course they are on, from the weekend primer to advanced?