Edited by Megan O’Connor – submitted by BluLever Education

Plumbing Africa thanks Blulever Education for providing coverage of their ongoing Women on Tools campaign, which aims to change the narrative about women in the trades by sharing the success stories of their female apprentices.

“I faced some hardships and stereotypes when I started my apprenticeship. Engaging with other people and being miles away from home while at camp was hard because I am a shy person. I had people stare at me just because I am a lady in a work suit. I eventually opened-up and started to speak more to people and find out who they are, and the things that they love about the industry. I tackled people’s staring by adding a touch of confidence in myself.

“When I went for my first employer-based learning my supervisor said, “why are you doing plumbing? If I was your father, I wouldn’t allow you to be doing such.” This made me decide to let my hands and knowledge speak for themselves. A week later, he came back and said, “now I understand why you are doing what you are doing.”

“The most rewarding part of being in the industry is getting to be in the real world – being given tasks to handle on my own and completing sections on my own. As a female, I contribute to the projects I am in by representing other females in the industry, and explaining to narrow-minded people that we too are capable of being artisans in the plumbing industry – we also have hands, brains and eyes just like our male counterparts.

“I have noticed that many women are starting to come out of their shells lately, and taking on roles that not everyone would have the guts to do so. For example, a female school-leaver straight from high school would choose to do plumbing, which shows that there is room for changing the narrative. We can see that the newer generation is opening doors for all genders to be part of sectors that were once classified as male industries and advocating for unity. The older generations need to start thinking from a different angle now and accept that we are trying to be part of a society that accepts any gender identity for that matter.

“My advice to women: Never feel like you need to submit to being classified under one umbrella. Your future is yours to paint and tell your story as it is.” – Kamogelo Morulane, BluLever Apprentice.