Tori encourages girls to take on a trade
Twenty-three-year-old apprentice, Tori Preddy longs for the day where people won’t look twice when they see a female on a worksite.
As part of the 2% of women working in the plumbing and electrical trades, Tori has become used to people asking when the plumber is coming to the job, and then the look of surprise when she tells the customer that she is the plumber. But it is something that she looks forward to changing as more women enter the industry and is enjoying changing perceptions of those customers she works with.
“I believe we bring a different perspective to the job,” Tori said, adding “we have a different way of looking at things and generally an eye for detail. Customers appreciate this and are seeing the benefits of having a female on the job”.
Having started her career in the plumbing industry, working for a bathroom and plumbing supplier, Tori soon decided that she wanted to do more and began to look for an apprenticeship. Employed by a commercial plumbing company, Tori started her plumbing career on major plumbing projects where having women on the worksite was less of a rarity.
Moving to Wollongong, Tori was employed by Laser Plumbing Wollongong Central and is now completing the 3rd year of her apprenticeship under the keen eye of business owner, Jon Schafer.
For Jon, what stood out about Tori was her foundation of knowledge and her attitude, wanting to be doing the job rather than standing back and observing.
“I had no hesitation considering a female to join our plumbing team” explained Jon. “Tori’s easy-going personality and inquisitive nature stood out at her interview and, these are both values which have been appreciated in customer feedback along with the quality of her work.”
For Jon, when looking for someone to join their business, it was about finding an apprentice who wanted to work and who would fit in with his team, something which Tori’s good sense of humour and work ethic enabled her to do seamlessly.
With the plumbing and electrical industry currently facing a skills shortage, Tori believes that it makes sense for businesses to consider hiring more females. “Take the sex out of the equation,” she said. “Being male or female has little to do with whether you are good at your job or not. It is about attitude and ability.”
Wishing she had started her apprenticeship earlier, Tori is practical in her encouragement to young girls considering taking on a trade, saying “Just do it, there is always work”.
And Jon is equally encouraging. “If you have the right mindset, dedication and work ethic, I think there would be many businesses like ours that would be keen to take a female on board. Just like us.”