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Across Australia, plumbing is an industry dominated by males with Australian Government statistics revealing less than one per cent of all industry workers are female.
Not perturbed by these figures, TAFE NSW Tamworth student Victoria Smith is bucking the trend. The talented Armidale local is forging a promising career as a plumber with well-respected local business Inglis Plumbing.
Victoria said, “I found it difficult when I first started at Inglis Plumbing because there were 20 or more males working here – I did feel a bit of pressure to fit in.
“But I worked really hard to earn my place on the team and the respect of my colleagues. Now my colleagues just want to help me learn as much as possible and they treat me as part of the team.
“I’m very lucky to work with such a great company and I really enjoy being a plumber. It’s very hard to get bored in this industry because there’s so many things to work on and learn.
“I was freaking out about coming to TAFE NSW when I first started because I hadn’t studied since I was at school, but all the teachers are really helpful and nice, and I’ve already learnt so much that has helped me do my job better.”
Victoria’s boss and mentor, Inglis Plumbing owner Greg Inglis, was full of praise for the 27-year-old, who he believes has a bright future ahead of her.
“I’m actually really proud of her. Being a female in the plumbing industry has its challenges for sure, but Victoria copes well and is more than capable of completing any task that her male colleagues can,” he said.
TAFE NSW Plumbing teacher Martin Wray added, “Victoria is a very focused student and one of the best students in her class. She completes all tasks with skill and determination and has all the attributes to have a really successful career in plumbing.”
With the Australian Government predicting more than 29,000 new plumbing jobs across the country up until 2023, both Victoria and Greg would like to see more females pursue careers in this industry.
Victoria said, “I think more females should get into plumbing, or any trade for that matter. Forget about stereotypes, it can be very rewarding.”
Greg added, “Attitudes in plumbing are starting to change - It’s been a male-dominated industry for too long. I wouldn’t hesitate to hire another female if she was the right fit for our business.”
For more information about TAFE NSW’s range of semester two plumbing courses, phone 131 601 or visit www.tafensw.edu.au.