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How To Become A Handyman

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Working as a handyman can be a lucrative career choice for anybody with a can-do attitude who is comfortable working across a number of different occupations, such as plumbing, carpentry and welding. Over the years, handymen have become increasingly relied on when compared to their more specialist competitors, as UK customers aim to get more value for their money when having someone over to look at a few things.

Quality handymen will always be in demand, and more experienced workers can take home up to £23,000 per year. You won’t need a degree or any form of advanced qualifications (although they may help your earning potential long-term), so make an ideal option for anyone who prefers learning on the job.

How to become a Handyman UK

There are a wide variety of routes you can take on the road to becoming a handyman. It’s probably fair to say you’ll have more choice than, say, a welder, as you’re much more likely to be able to pick up valuable experience through volunteering or on-the-job learning.

There are a number of different methods people use when aiming to become a handyman:

  • College course
  • Apprenticeship
  • Volunteer work/work experience

Which one makes the most sense for you will depend on a few factors, so let’s break down each one:

What skills do you need to be a Handyman?

Handymen naturally require a number of different skills and a wide range of knowledge to allow them to successfully complete tasks across different disciplines. While this isn’t a perfect science, if you possess the following you’d probably make a good one:

  • Excellent customer service, sociable
  • Interest and knowledge of the building and construction industry
  • Comfortable using, repairing and maintaining hand tools
  • A practical approach to problem-solving
  • Strong team player
  • Basic IT skills
  • Thorough, keen eye for detail
  • Good hand-eye coordination

If this sounds like you, let’s run through the ways you might become a top handyman.

1. College course

If you’re comfortable in a classroom, working on group projects before applying your lessons practically, then taking a course through a local college might make a lot of sense. Courses can provide you with a jump start for your handyman career, offering a solid base to develop from. Courses are excellent CV builders, so even if you choose to go in a slightly different direction, you’ll still have a good qualification to back you up.

Courses are probably less suited to someone who prefers to learn on the job or who finds classroom learning a little bit dull. Somebody like this would probably be much better suited to an apprenticeship or work experience scheme—and remember you can always come back to a course later in your career if you feel it necessary.

What qualifications do you need to get into a Handyman course?

Requirements can change from college to college but are, for the most part, are fairly consistent. If you met these criteria, you’d have an excellent chance of being accepted onto a course:

  • Level 1: 0-2 GCSEs (pass or above)
  • Level 2: 2+ GCSEs (D or above)
  • Level 3: 4-5 GCSEs (C or above)

How to find Handyman training courses near me?

We’d recommend the National Careers Service portal as the place to begin your hunt. Most of the UK’s colleges use it to advertise their courses, so a quick search there should yield the results you’re looking for. Check your local colleges, too—more popular courses might never need to be advertised online, so make sure to have a look at their websites and prospectuses to see everything on offer.

While waiting for your course to start, check out the government’s online course portal. It has some excellent general courses that can help prepare you for the beginning of your handyman journey.

Handyman certification course

There are a wide number of handyman institutions and organisations across the country, so if you’re looking for a formal certification you shouldn’t need to look too far. You could check out The Builder Training Centre or Able Skills—both accredited by City & Guilds.

2. Apprenticeships

Becoming an apprentice is a great way to kickstart your career. The government continues to invest heavily into them, so there may be no better time to look for one. Apprenticeships can offer you a unique combination of experience and training, hopefully leading to a job offer from the business you’re with or another local competitor.

Apprentices in the UK are categorised into one of three levels, depending on their prior education:

  • Intermediate Apprenticeship: A few GCSEs (or equivalent), likely including English and Maths
  • Advanced Apprenticeship: 5+ GCSEs (C or above) (or equivalent), including English and Maths
  • Higher Apprenticeship: Foundation Degree (or equivalent)

You’ll be paid for the time you spend as an apprentice, making them a great option for anyone who wants to begin earning—do keep in mind that you won’t earn as much as the other staff while you’re still an apprentice though. As part of the government’s apprentice scheme, your employer will also organise training and learning courses for you, to make sure you don’t fall too far behind those who opted for the course route.

Traineeships

Traineeships are a perfect option for anybody who isn’t quite ready for an apprenticeship yet—perhaps a current college student or someone looking to change careers.

They’re c.100 hours of work across a number of weeks, designed to be flexible around college courses or other employments. It’ll give you valuable insight into the work you’d be doing as a full-time handyman, allowing you to make a more informed decision about what you want to do in the future.

How to apply for a Handyman apprenticeship?

Applying for an apprenticeship in the UK couldn’t be easier. Almost all of the businesses in the UK hiring apprentices advertise through the UK’s apprenticeship portal, so you should be able to quickly find what you’re looking for.

Keep an eye out for local careers events too—meeting businesses in person at these events (often held at local colleges/schools) can be a great chance to ask any questions you might have about the industry or that business specifically, and could help inspire where you’d like to take your career long-term.

3. Volunteer Work or Direct Applications

Both of these would probably be more appropriate for someone who already has some handyman experience, whether through a course or work you’ve already completed, but either can still be a valuable tool for anyone looking to learn more about the industry, provided you can find someone willing to bring you in without previous experience.

Finding volunteer work online can take a little bit of time, but we’d recommend websites like CharityJob as an excellent resource for your search.

Making direct applications depends entirely on who is hiring around you. Keep an eye on local job boards, newspaper advertisements and Facebook job groups to see if there is anyone who might benefit from your skillset.

What does a Handyman do in the UK?

One of the best parts about being a handyman is the wide variety of work you’ll see on any given day. Every day will be different, so you’ll be kept on your toes. You’ll more than likely need to travel to your customers, so a driving license would be beneficial as you could be behind the wheel for a few hours each day. If you’re going to use your own vehicle to get about, you’ll also need business use vehicle insurance too, so make sure you’re sorted before driving.

  • Putting up rails, shelves, cabinets, etc.
  • Checking, maintaining, repairing boilers
  • Furniture assembly/removal
  • Gardening
  • Decorating, painting
  • Fixing leaks, clogs
  • Basic electrical tasks (replacing fuses etc.)
  • Checking, maintaining, installing smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, etc.

Do I need insurance as a Handyman?

Yes, almost all handymen will require an insurance policy. It’ll protect you from many of the most common risks handymen face while at work, allowing you to get on with your job with peace of mind. Check out our guide to handyman’s insurance if you’d like to know what you do/don’t need, where to find coverage and how much it’s likely to cost.

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FAQ's

There are a number of organisations in the UK offering formal certifications for handymen, allowing them to advertise the standard of their work to their customers. We’d recommend The Builder Training Centre or Able Skills, but a quick Google search should also offer alternatives.

Between £45-£200, depending on the task you need to be completed. You’re likely looking at a cost of around £45-£60 per hour, so the amount you pay will depend on the complexity of the work and how long it’s going to take.

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The guidance on this site is based on our own analysis and is meant to help you identify options and narrow down your choices. We do not advise or tell you which product to buy; undertake your own due diligence before entering into any agreement. Read our full disclosure here.