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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 July, 2004, 15:02 GMT 16:02 UK
Plumbing courses are inundated
Reports of high salaries are exaggerated, say tutors
People who camped out to try to get on plumbing courses have been warned they will not necessarily earn a fortune.

Hundreds of people queued to try to get on courses to retrain at Leeds College of Building.

But college staff gave them leaflets warning that stories about plumbers' inflated salaries - of up to 80,000 a year - had been exaggerated.

Only 36 places were available on day and evening courses - and more than 400 people applied.

The leaflets say media reports do not reflect typical incomes, and that most plumbers earn between 18,000 and 30,000 a year.

A college spokeswoman said: "We tell people they can make a reasonable living as a plumber but it's usually nothing like the 70,000 or 80,000 you see quoted in the media.

"It's true that if someone is prepared to work incredibly long hours these earnings can be achieved by some people but it's not typical.

"It will be interesting to see what happens to salaries once the skill gap which seems to exist closes."

The college had recently taken on more staff to cope with the demand for plumbing courses, although training for other trades - especially plastering and tiling, was also popular, she said.

Earlier this year Birmingham University biologist Karl Gensberg left academic life to retrain as a gas fitter, saying he hoped to double his 23,000 annual salary.

Centre plugs plumber shortage
24 Jun 04  |  Mid Wales
Would-be plumbers camp out
16 May 03  |  Bristol
Biologist retrains as gas fitter
23 Feb 04  |  Education

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