World Plumbing Day, A Women in Plumbing Ambassadorship and a Family Tragedy

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world plumbing day

Today is World Plumbing Day. A day where plumbers are recognized for their extraordinary contribution to the health and safety of the community. We often forget how blessed we are to live in a country where clean drinking water can be accessed via a tap and our waste can be flushed away and treated.

When I started my apprenticeship in 2006, I didn’t realise how much expertise was needed to install plumbing systems. Apprentices would complain in class about the maths involved in working out pipe sizing installations and designing stacks. Understanding the why behind the installation was important – not just for knowledge sake but as an accountability to ensure what is installed is done right the first time. It can be a matter of sickness or health.

It’s this expertise that has put the plumbing career in the spotlight. Contrary to belief, plumbing is not a dumb trade. Often plumbers don’t charge what they are worth because they undervalue their skills.

The World Plumbing Council recognises the important part plumbers play in providing a health service to communities around the world, and for this reason World Plumbing Day was created – a day to congratulate plumbers on a job well done.

It’s also a day to talk about issues that plumbers face in providing this essential service to us all. I was invited as a guest to this morning’s breakfast and I brought along my husband, Jacob and my dad to support me during a special announcement. As dad and I sat and listened to the issues facing plumbers at present, we were transported back to when we were running our business and facing similar issues of not being paid on time and the stresses of running a business and being present with our family. While I listened, I was encouraged by the passionate men who want plumbers to be successful in their business and weren’t afraid to ask the hard questions to our Minister for Housing and Public Works, Mick de Brenni, on what the government can do to help plumbers.

The Master Plumbers’ Association of QLD (MPAQ) has always supported plumbers by providing courses and services to help plumbers be the best they can be while running their business.

The MPAQ organized this morning’s World Plumbing Day breakfast, which had over 350 guests including Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk who presented me with QLD’s first Women in Plumbing Ambassadorship for QLD.

The Plumbette with QLD Premier

I have been so excited about this Ambassadorship and I can’t wait to work with Penny Cornah, the Executive Director of MPAQ and the team in promoting more women to choose plumbing – or any trade as a career.

I believe that the trade industry has untapped opportunities for women, but there needs to be more awareness for girls that graduate from school that they can be a tradie.

I also believe businesses need to see the important part they can play in offering a female an apprenticeship. I understand the hesitations and concerns about whether a girl can handle the work and what to do if she decides to start a family. I totally get these concerns because dad and I went through these ourselves when I became a mum myself.

female plumber with kids

But I don’t believe fear should stop us from taking that plunge and taking a chance on giving someone their dream job. I’m also not naïve to believe that our apprentices won’t need support to get through their training. NCVER figures for 2014, as reported by Migas, show only 46% of apprentices finish their trade. We need to get that figure up.

I look forward to collaborating with the MPAQ to promote more women into plumbing. There are only 46 female plumbers in QLD. I want to see this figure grow – but not without ensuring there is support for these female apprentices because it can be hard working in a male-dominant trade.

I want to thank all of you for the wonderful messages of encouragement with the announcement of my ambassadorship. The Plumbette would not be here if I didn’t have loyal readers who support my blog. Thank you for the personal messages you send me when a post has resonated with you. This is the best reward of all, as I want my words to make a difference. But words also need action and that is where my Ambassadorship will play a part in seeing these changes be made to help promote a better plumbing industry.

On a sad note, I would appreciate prayers for my family. While I was receiving my Ambassador award this morning, my brother and sister-in-law gave birth to my nephew who was unfortunately stillborn (at 19 weeks and 1 day) at 7am this morning.

Today has been a rush of emotions from the very highs to deep lows.

We just never know what life will throw at us at once. I’m devastated about the loss because it would have been the first grandson for our family and I couldn’t be there for my brother and sister at their worst time. To show how big my brother’s heart is, all while going through this heartbreak of his own he was able to congratulate me on my award and ask how my speech went. Love you so much Andrew and Heather. I know your little one is in Heaven and Grandpa Jones would have been at Heaven’s gates looking forward to meeting the grandson bearing the family name. RIP Christopher Robert Jones born 11th March 2016.