It’s International Women’s Day (IWD) on Friday 8th March - a celebration of women and their achievements. This year’s IWD theme is ‘Inspire Inclusion’ and at Logic4training we do all we can to encourage all learners to come train with us so that they can develop our skills and build a career in building services.

We’ve recently trained Carolyn Garett who swapped a career in the corporate world for property maintenance and plumbing. You can view her video testimonial here:

Carolyn took our 6-week Level 2 Diploma in the Installation and Maintenance of Plumbing and Heating System just before Christmas which has given her the skills and confidence she needs to incorporate plumbing into the property maintenance projects she is undertaking for friends and family. 

We caught up with Carolyn recently to talk about her time at Logic4training and her plans for the future. Initially, Carolyn was worried that, as a woman, she’d feel the odd one out, but she quickly settled in and enjoyed learning new skills, turning theory into practice. She was impressed with the facilities and quality of teaching from our trainers. Here’s what she had to say:

L4t: What made you choose to train with us?

CG: I’d had a long and successful career in the corporate world, working as a team manager on various product development projects – everything from laundry products to e-cigarettes.  I’d begun to feel a bit disenchanted with it all and when the opportunity came up to leave, I took it. I was too young to retire and wanted to learn something new. 

I’ve always been an active person and into DIY, so I signed up to Logic4training’s short Property Maintenance course which I thoroughly enjoyed. Part of this course involved a bit of pipe-bending and some basic soldering and that’s when the idea of plumbing took root. I was keen to help friends and family with their DIY projects and realised, if I had a plumbing qualification, I’d be able to feel more confident in the work I want to do. Besides, I wanted to learn how to do things properly – not to botch it!

There’s a fair bit of theory on the plumbing diploma course, but most of it is practical so you really get a sense of what it’s like to work with the tools. This helps build your confidence no end. 

Since I finished the plumbing diploma, I’ve been back to take my Water Regulations qualification and I’m aiming for an NVQ. There’s responsibility in working in other peoples’ homes and I feel I’d like to have the official stamp of approval before I cast the net a bit wider and take this all more seriously.

L4t: What do your friends and family think about your change in direction?

CG: They’ve been incredibly supportive and enjoyed seeing me develop skills in a new area. My husband, who hates DIY, is more than happy for me to take the lead at home.

L4t: As it’s International Women’s Day this week, what advice would you give other women thinking about making a move into building services, when it has traditionally been seen as a man’s world?

CG: It’s true, there aren’t many women in this line of work, and I was the only woman on my course, but I think being female, you have a kind of superpower. Lots of the skills that women excel in; communication, thinking on our feet, problem solving etc. are vital for those working in the trades, so we’ve got a lot going for us before we start. I’ve worked with all-male teams before and don’t find a male environment off-putting, it’s just sometimes presents different challenges.

All the staff at Logic4training were incredibly supportive, throughout my time there. Glen,  Ricky, Russell and Craig were brilliant trainers and I enjoyed being taught by Rachel when she took us through the introduction to the NVQ. Although I was met by a bit of curiosity early days at the local plumbing supply centre, the guys there are now fully onside!

It’s a shame I’m seen as a bit of an oddity, but things are changing. They have to!  If I was to give advice to a woman starting out in a plumbing career, I’d suggest they find themselves a mentor. It needn’t be another woman, just someone who’s got their back and will help push them gently in the right direction. I’ve been mentored in the past and have been a mentor too – it’s a powerful relationship and a great way to get some support when you’re starting out. 

Another idea would be to seek out a group of other women doing similar work. WhatsApp is an amazing tool to bring people together. I worked on several projects on diversity and inclusion in my previous job and forming support groups is a great way to help people build good working relationships. 

L4t: Could you see yourself reaching out to other women training in the same field?

CG: Yes, I think in time I could. Now, I’m just happy to have the new skills I need to take me forward. It’s an exciting time for me and I’m very glad I took the plunge and followed my interest in DIY and plumbing in particular. There’s absolutely no reason why women can’t be plumbers and I’m delighted to be setting out on a new path. 

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