Master Plumbers NSW
Women In The Industry
It’s no secret that males predominate in the trades in general, and plumbing is no different. Since more than a century ago, when modern plumbing became commonplace in buildings, males have dominated the sector. When the first woman in the nation earned a master plumber license in the 1950s, the glass ceiling in plumbing was finally cracked. The majority of plumbing was done with metal pipes and hot lead solder back then, which made the work more difficult than it is today.
Despite this early achievement, just 3% of the entire plumbing workforce, according to estimates, is female.
MPA NSW is dedicated to highlighting and celebrating Women in the Industry.
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Some Of The Great Women In The Industry Stories
“Ladies and Gentlemen,
I’d like to start by thanking the Master Plumbers Association for giving me the opportunity to talk today. I am truly honored to share my journey and the reasons that led me to embark on a career in plumbing. It’s been quite a unique path, one that I am incredibly proud of.
My story begins after I completed my school education in 2013. I ventured into the world of gaming, working at EB Games. While it was exciting, my curiosity and thirst for learning led me to a role at Gameco, a supplier of gas valves and fittings. Little did I know that this would be the starting point of my fascination with plumbing.
As I delved into the realm of plumbing supplies, my interest grew even more. Eager to explore further, I joined Reece plumbing. Working there intensified my curiosity about the trade, and I knew that I wanted to experience plumbing first-hand.
I took a step into the world of plumbing companies, initially as an office-based quoter. The experience was enlightening, but I wanted to be hands-on, to be a part of the team that brings plumbing solutions to life. Yet, within that organisation, my transition to the field seemed challenging.
It was then that I took a leap of faith and joined Chiswick Plumbing as an apprentice. Five months into my apprenticeship, I can confidently say that I’ve found my true calling. The fears I had initially, about being treated differently, dissipated quickly. The fellowship and support from my colleagues have been overwhelming, from management to fellow apprentices.
Sally, our dispatcher, has become a guiding light for me. My journey in plumbing has been a whirlwind of experiences – from dealing with drainage intricacies, installing water heaters, fixing taps and toilets, to mastering the art of maintenance plumbing. I’ve found a passion that I never knew I had.
My short-term goal is clear: to complete my Certificate 3, then move on to Certificate 4 and earn my plumbing license. I feel a deep sense of belonging in this industry, where challenges are embraced, and victories celebrated together.
Yes, it’s true that sometimes customers are taken aback when I knock on their doors. But their surprise often turns into appreciation and compliments about the rarity of seeing a female plumber. Initially, my concern was my physical strength, questioning if I could manage the tasks required. However, with each passing day, I’ve realized that I’m not just keeping up with the boys, but exceeding expectations.
A moment of pride for me is when I heard from my boss that apprentices are judged based on how frequently tradesmen ask to work with them. I’m humbled and proud to share that they often request my assistance on their jobs. It’s a testament to the inclusive spirit of this profession.
In closing, I am beyond grateful for the path I’ve chosen. Plumbing has become a part of my identity, a realm where I’m thriving and truly belong. To all those who’ve supported me, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Here’s to a journey that’s just begun, and to all the incredible experiences and accomplishments that lie ahead.
Kylie Graham from Michael Graham Plumbing Pty Ltd was the recipient of the WHS award for 2022. With a real focus on safety, it is pleasing that Kylie, a standout in this area, has taken out the 2022 award. Dr Ian Grady from ProVisual Publishing is seen above presenting the award to Kylie Graham & John Gold .
This award is to acknowledge a business for professionalism and initiative in work health and safety. Applicants addressed how well they protect their employees; how proud they are of their safety system and how they keep everyone safe at work.
Also considered is how their system was implemented in their business and how it has benefited their business and employees.
Victoria Smith received a State Government Bert Evans Scholarship, which provides $15,000 in financial support for her training.
Local MP Mr Marshall said Victoria was a real inspiration to other young women who might be considering going into a trade but nervous about taking that first step.
“Victoria is an incredibly motivated and confident young woman who truly deserves this recognition and support,” Mr Marshall.
“Only in her second year of plumbing, Victoria is currently working for Armidale-based contractor Inglis Plumbing, putting her skills to work on the Armidale Secondary College construction project.
“Undertaking a trade is a huge commitment and can take up to four years to be certified another two to be licenced. I commend Victoria, who is also a mature age student, for being brave enough to embark on the journey to being a qualified plumber.”
Victoria said the Bert Evans Scholarship would make a huge difference to her career.
“I love my apprenticeship but everyone knows apprentice wages are still quite low so this funding will really make a difference in setting me up as a qualified plumber,” Victoria said.
“I study at TAFE Tamworth so I am regularly travelling down the New England Highway from Armidale to attend classes so this support will greatly help with my cost of transport, accommodation as well as buying new tools to do my job.
“I want to thank the State Government for providing me with the support and I would really urge anyone who is currently doing an apprenticeship or traineeship to apply in the future.”
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