women in careers: carlie the plumber
When you have a drain or toilet issue and you flip through the yellow pages looking for a plumber, you might be surprised if the female that answered your phone call is actually the plumber who turns up at your door.
Female trade workers aren’t as common as males, but it appears the trade career is a growing possibility for many women, and 28 year old Carlie is one of them. She is one of only 21 licensed female plumbers in Queensland and the only female plumbing inspector in the state.
While missing being “on the tools”, Carlie is based at home and pregnant at the time of our interview, so there were many on-site restrictive procedures however there are many standard daily activities that a non-pregnant plumber engages in. Every day on the job in the plumbing profession is different, from visiting any kind of building (both domestic and commercial) to scout for plumbing needs including drains, sewer and waste water pipes, stack work to toilet and tap fittings and on going maintenance that complies to codes and standards, it’s only natural that you begin learning bits of other trades. “You get used to the smell”, she says. Facing a few snide comments such as “that’s a male’s job” or going out to a site where the man of the house might stand over you telling you how to fix the issue, Carlie says all the experience simply “makes you a stronger person”.
Carlie undertook a school-based apprenticeship becoming fully qualified as a plumber by 21 and worked for five years before becoming a plumbing inspector. Carlie holds a certificate III in Construction (General Plumbing Trade), a certificate IV in Domestic Wastewater Management and a certificate II in workplace First Aid (Senior First Aid). For information about how you can get yourself into the plumbing business, check out http://www.apprenticeplumbers.com.au/ or contact your local TAFE to inquire about certificates.