April 5, 2023
How one of our female plumbers navigated the difficult world of training, funding, and qualifications
Whether you are a young woman who has wanted to be a professional plumber from a young age or someone who is retraining later in life, you need to understand how to achieve your end goal. The road to becoming a female plumber can take lots of different paths, and they are not always clear.
To highlight the different ways that you can become a plumber, we are speaking to Vikki, one of TaskHer’s most prolific female plumbers.
Vikki struggled to find her groove in the education system and often spent her spare time exploring different avenues into employment. ‘My stepdad started taking me to the building sites with him,’ she says, ‘I was used to being around all the guys on the site, and I really enjoyed it.’
Vikki knew that she had a talent for hands-on work, which eventually led to her training to become a chef.
Vikki became a qualified chef and worked in Essex for the next four years until she moved home to care for her mother. Her interest in construction work was reignited, and she started going to work with her stepdad on the building sites again.
‘When it was time to get back into work, I thought, what do I do? I didn’t want to go back to being a chef, and I realised I wanted to stay on the construction sites. Then, it came down to being an electrician or a plumber.’
Vikki set her sights on becoming a professional female plumber. She chose to become a plumber instead of an electrician because it was the faster route to paid employment.
Once Vikki decided that she wanted to become a plumber, she had to work hard to gain all the necessary qualifications. Women in trades do not just have to think about exams, they also have to gain hands-on experience. ‘I went to college at 23 and wrote a load of emails saying I was looking for unpaid work,’ Vikki says. ‘A guy took me on, and I worked for him for six months for nothing. Then, towards the end of my college course, I joined a company and spent two years there.’
Vikki soon returned to college to complete her gas training.
Vikki gained the hands-on, practical experience that she needed to pass most of her course, but soon experienced discrimination. ‘The company fired me because they said I’d never be able to lift a boiler onto a wall,’ Vicki says. They fired her just as she was about to finish her Gas Safety course, but luckily her college saved the day. One of the team found a professional electrician to sign off the rest of Vikki’s course, and she was ready to go.
Of course, funding is a big concern for hopeful female plumbers and female heating engineers.
Luckily, Vikki was eligible for government funding for college. ‘I got funded by the government for college, but I have to pay it back when I earn over a certain amount,’ she says. The admin process was easy; the college handled all the paperwork. ‘I basically just signed a bit of paper that said I wanted to do my gas course.’
For the next few years after finishing her qualifications, Vikki worked for various companies as a professional plumber and heating engineer. A lot of companies require plumbers to be registered as sole traders, so Vikki became self-employed very early on.
Vikki soon transitioned into full-time self-employment and now enjoys a flexible schedule that is filled with TaskHer bookings and repeat customers. On an average day, she might do seven or eight jobs centred around maintenance and repairs, including tap changes, toilet leaks, and boiler repairs. She collaborates with her network of women in trades to execute bathroom renovations, and she also regularly installs boilers.
TaskHer elevates and uplifts female plumbers, female electricians, and female heating engineers. It is the only platform that is designed exclusively for women in trades. Vikki is one of our many qualified, knowledgeable workers.
You can support women in trades by using our platform to hire experienced, certified women today. Search for a nearby female plumber in London on our website.
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