Level 3 apprenticeship framework - plumbing and heating

This framework sets out the standards and criteria you must meet to complete the apprenticeship programme and receive your apprenticeship certificate for level 3 plumbing and heating. This is the only level 3 training in this skill acceptable for apprenticeshipsni funding.

About the framework

This framework specifies the standards and the criteria for the delivery of a level 3 apprenticeship framework to achieve qualified status within the plumbing and heating industry.

Successful completion of the framework will lead to the award of a level 3 qualification showing recognition as a qualified person within the industry.   

Mandatory outcomes

Achievement of a level 3 apprenticeship in plumbing and heating will be assessed by verification through the appropriate awarding body.

You must follow one of the two pathways at level 3, and achieve a competence based qualification, a knowledge based qualification and the literacy, numeracy and ICT requirements.

Mandatory essential skills

The following essential skills are mandatory and are to be completed as part of the apprenticeship:

  • information and communication technology (ICT) – level 2

However, any qualifications you already have are assessed against the framework requirements and may result in an exemption from the above.

Competency and knowledge qualifications – pathway options

Apprentices need to complete both a competency-based and a knowledge-based qualification in their chosen pathway, from the list below.

Pathway one: oil-fired, solid fuel or environmental options

Competence-based qualification:

Knowledge- based qualification:

Pathway two: gas-fired water and central heating appliances

Competence-based qualification:

Knowledge-based qualification:

The above competence based qualifications include all the knowledge relevant to this occupational role. This knowledge is supplemented by the addition of a (short-course) knowledge based qualification which covers environmental technology which is a fast-developing and increasingly important aspect of this occupational role. 

Eligibility and entry requirements

You must be employed and have achieved a minimum of grade C in both GCSE maths and English or their equivalent, to take part this level 3 apprenticeship.

Employment is at the discretion of the employer who may have specific expectations in terms of qualifications and/or medical/physical requirements.

Entry to the level 3 apprenticeship is by progression from the apprenticeshipsni level 2 framework in plumbing.

You may also enter the level 3 apprenticeship, subject to assessment by the training contractor and employer, if you've achieved GCSE grade C or equivalent in Eglish and maths and:

  • have already gained significant work experience in this occupational area, which could be considered as meeting the requirements of the level 2 plumbing framework and, also show the capacity to achieve a level 3 standard


  • have previously achieved a relevant level 2 recognised vocational qualification that is a mandatory requirement of the current apprenticeshipsni level 2 plumbing framework or framework pathway

See also the DfE apprenticeship guidelines and operational requirements.


Apprenticeship duration can vary and will be agreed between the apprentice, training contractor and employer.


The quality assurance aspect of assessment is the responsibility of the awarding organisation. For this apprenticeship the awarding organisations are city and guilds and EAL.

In general, evidence of competence (skills) must come from the workplace or a realistic working environment and may be gathered into a single portfolio in hard or soft copy. This portfolio will then be assessed by a qualified assessor and then subject to the QA systems of the awarding organisation.

Evidence of knowledge may be identified during the practical assignments and/or through formal assessment via online, on-demand testing using multiple-choice questions (e-assessment).


You  may have to satisfy the requirements of the construction skills register (CSR) course (one day) in health and safety or equivalent card scheme to get onto specific work sites.

On successful completion of all framework components, you may have generated enough work-based evidence to support an application for eng tech status with the engineering council.

Related knowledge

All pathways must include mandatory induction. Employee rights and responsibilities (ERR) must be covered and confirmation of completing ERR must be included with the request for the apprenticeship certificate.


It is the responsibility of the training contractor/ college to ensure that the requirements of this framework are delivered in accordance with apprenticeshipsni operational requirements.

The apprentice must be employed from day one.

Further information

The content of this framework (framework no. 316 issue no.7 8/20) has been developed between the Department for the Economy and the Built Environment Sectoral Partnership (working with Building Services Engineering (BSE) Skills Limited). 

For further information, contact:

Level 3 apprenticeship frameworks

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