Practical qualifications trump degrees as the pathway into the most highly-rated skills in the community, as research reveals Brits would rather live next door to a plumber than a doctor.
Other practically skilled neighbours such as electricians, builders, carpenters and mechanics appeared below plumbers in the top 10 list of the most valued neighbourhood occupations.
Education charity Edge Foundation produced the report to mark VQ Day 2015, the annual celebration of vocational qualifications.
It found that nearly half of the population had required practical help over the past 12 months, with the majority (56%) likely to call upon a neighbour for assistance in a crisis.
Over the period, almost a third of respondents had suffered from plumbing problems, including blocked drains and radiator issues.
A quarter (23%) waid they were likely to call on their skilled neighbours in the event of their boiler or heating system breaking down, while one in five would ask for help with a blocked sink or drains.
Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors chief executive John Thompson said: “It is pleasing that over a 20-year period and from a very low base, plumbing is now seen as one of the most popular vocations, as well as being the most valued neighbourhood skill in the UK.
“This is in part because it is irreplaceable; the only way to fix a plumbing issue is to call in a plumber. As a skill, it cannot be digitalised, making this one of the most future-proof occupations. This research shows that universal skills such as plumbing will be in demand long into the future.”