Continuing our empowering women theme we would like to introduce you to our fabulous female plumber, bossy lady and super mum – Jade! This strong independent lady has worked extremely hard to make her dreams come true and become a skilled tradeswoman. Unfortunately, in Jades interview it is clear that equality is a major issue for women within this industry. However, Jade has looked through any issues and is extremely positive, inspiring and focused on her career! Catch her interview below!
(Image: Jade Curtin)
Why did you want to be a plumber?
I wanted to be a plumber because I love being on the tools. When I was younger, I done work experience at a plumber’s merchants – I loved every minute of it! Following my work experience they kept me on for a while and I learnt about boilers and various parts etc. From that I just knew I wanted to be in this trade as I would consider myself to be a more ‘hands on’ type of girl!
Did you ever feel ‘uneasy’ about entering a male dominated industry?
To begin with I felt uneasy when entering big sites as an apprentice. At this point I was still learning, didn’t know everything and thought I would be judged on my size as I am quite petite. You have got to have thick skin, work hard, be keen and get the job done! If you are a hard-working apprentice, you will earn the respect and people will look past the stereotype.
As a female in this industry have you faced any challenges? If so, what are they?
I have faced many challenges – it has been a long and interesting journey! I have received sexist remarks and comments! I remember one time in particular when I had joined a company as a gas apprentice, I worked with a guy who literally reduced me to tears! He couldn’t believe that I was a plumber and said that I should be in an office booking the plumbing jobs and not physically doing them. All day long he made comments regarding my size and capabilities – it is not right, but unfortunately sometimes women experience this type of discrimination.
What gives you drive and motivation?
My children give me drive and motivation as I want to give them the best life! Also, my boss – he believed in me and took me on as a solo maintenance plumber. To this day he continues to tell me how great I am doing and how far I have come. Employers need to take note as praising your staff and respecting them makes a huge difference!
What goals do you wish to accomplish throughout your career?
In my career I wish to be a master plumber, get my commercial catering and gas tickets – its something I have always dreamed of and will soon be a reality.
What pros and cons come with being a female plumber?
The main pro of being a female plumber is when other women watch your journey and it inspires them to get into a trade – we can do it!!! There are some cons however, as I am no longer an apprentice I don’t get as much ‘stick’ anymore however, I have had some customers doubt me and makes comments such as – ‘Oh, so do YOU have a proper drill? And not just a little one!’ Ha Ha – I mean did he think I had a toy tool set!!
What advice would you give to other young females that are considering becoming a skilled tradesperson?
Do it! Only you can make it happen by following your dreams. The studying and exams may be stressful but once you qualify and step your foot in the plumbing door the world is yours – just make sure you do not listen to the criticism on your journey.
Follow Jade on LinkedIn - @JadeCurtin