$1.2m campaign to attract women to plumbing

Female apprentice plumbers with a selection of pipes on a wall in the background.

Apprentice plumbers Jessah Iliopoulos, Michaela Healey and Colleen Gill.

Master Plumbers is today (Monday 22 November) launching a two-year $1.2 million “Women in Plumbing” program, partnering with the Victorian Government’s Apprenticeships Victoria, to encourage Victorian women of all ages to join the industry and become potential future leaders in the profession.

“The pilot program addresses many of the challenges and barriers that female apprentices face, and it creates a pathway for our  future workforce,” Master Plumbers CEO Peter Daly said.

“Women are being offered fully-paid pre-apprenticeship training and measures to support them at every stage of their plumbing career.

“It is no secret that women are under-represented in plumbing and that action is needed,” Mr Daly said

“The diversity and perspectives that female apprentices bring is critically important to the future of the profession and it is imperative that women have access to a full range of career options.

“Female plumbers bring a different perspective. A different set of skills, different communication styles and that’s good for any industry.

“Unfortunately, for historical and perception reasons, many women think plumbing isn’t a career for them.

“Many women see barriers and challenges. But through this incredible pilot program which is supported by the Victorian Government, Master Plumbers aims to create more role models for women of any age to be inspired by.

Natalie Reynolds, General Manager Master Plumbers is managing the Women in Plumbing program and said: “Women are already succeeding in plumbing, building great careers and loving the work they do.

“Women are running their own plumbing businesses, contributing to Victoria’s multi-billion-dollar infrastructure projects and are doing important work in residential and commercial developments right across the state.

“But there are just not enough of them yet,” Ms Reynolds said.

“While there are 30,168 qualified plumbers in Victoria, only 101 of them, about 0.3 per cent, are women.

“While the numbers of women in plumbing are increasing gradually, we want to turbo-charge this process by engaging with women themselves, offering information for parents and schools, and providing direct entry into Master Plumbers apprenticeships.

“In partnership with Master Plumbers  – and backed by the Victorian Government’s Apprenticeships Victoria – we will provide more than 40 apprenticeship positions for women.

“The female apprentices will range in age from school leavers up.”

“We will pay the wages of women while they complete their pre-apprenticeship, the Certificate II in Plumbing.  This is available to 20 women between now and the end of July 2022.”

“This eliminates one of the major barriers – a lack of income – that women face when entering the trade or changing careers later in life.

“Some women however will go straight into the apprenticeship – we have another 20 places for those, with guaranteed jobs on major Big Build and other projects.”

“Once women join the program, they are fully supported by Master Plumbers and Apprenticeships Victoria with dedicated field officers, mentors and ongoing training and experience with host employers.”

“We have set up an alumni group, which will provide ongoing networking, mentoring, training and social events that will continue indefinitely. The group will be run by the women themselves with support from Master Plumbers.”

“There is a dedicated website womeninplumbing.com.au that provides specific, practical information that women need to make the decision to join the trade, as well as testimonials and the stories of women who are already working as plumbers.”

“Once this pilot program has been completed, there will be almost 50 per cent more women in plumbing in Victoria.

“This gives great momentum for Master Plumbers to continue to amplify our efforts to get more women into this great career.”

Female apprentice plumbers tell their stories

THE MUM

, 32, a mum of three, was on maternity leave with her third child when she realised she didn’t want to return to working in an office. The former office manager says: “I came across the Master Plumbers website and saw some females pursuing a plumbing apprenticeship. Seeing those girls gave me the push to sign up for a plumbing pre-apprenticeship.”

She wants other would-be female plumbers to know a couple of things. “Plumbing is a very well paid trade .. you will be surprised at how much variety there is to plumbing. It’s not all about toilets and fixing water lines and blocked drains.”

 

THE GRANDMOTHER

Colleen Gill, 41, is a mum of four and grandmother of two. She was a community nurse but always wanted to do a trade. “I always thought it was a man’s job. In the end I realised I can really do whatever it is I want to and it was now or never to give it a go.”

 

THE FORMER NURSE

Michaela Healey, 28, didn’t feel fulfilled in her job as a nurse. “I wanted to do something where I could start at the beginning and work my way up, and to me that was a trade. There are only two licenced trades, electrical and plumbing and I choose plumbing. It wasn’t hard to change career.

 

Master Plumbers will provide support through their apprenticeship and careers by:

  • Training 40+ women, including providing 20 paid pre-apprenticeships so all can complete a Certificate II pre-apprenticeship with a wage.
  • Guaranteed jobs for 20 more with direct entry into an apprenticeship
  • Employing the women and ensuring they are placed with Master Plumbers host companies to gain on-the-job work experience ranging from large infrastructure to residential projects.
  • Connecting and supporting them from the moment they join the program right throughout their career, with ongoing networking, mentoring, training and social events through an alumni program.
  • Distributing information for parents and schools to ensure that parents, careers teachers and female students see that plumbing is a highly skilled and rewarding career option for women.
  • Providing guidance in decision-making to demonstrate what a plumbing career can offer and profile successful female role models in the industry.
  • Providing direct entry into a Master Plumbers Apprenticeship: After Certificate II, candidates continue straight into an apprenticeship with Plumbing Apprenticeships Victoria, a Master Plumbers Group Training Organisation.
  • Providing a dedicated website – womeninplumbing.com.au – with all the information women need to help them make the decision to become a plumber.

 

About Master Plumbers

Master Plumbers is the industry Association for Plumbing in Victoria with a mission to support the success of the plumbing industry – a critical component of which is fostering the success of our next generation of plumbers.

By |2021-12-15T18:17:11+10:00November 30th, 2021|News|

About the Author:

The Agenda Group
The Agenda Group is the largest provider of communications services to local government in Victoria and is a trusted adviser to government departments, agencies, not-for-profit organisations and large corporations in Australia.