Female plumber from Deeside smashes gender barriers in male-dominated industry
A female plumber from Deeside is breaking down barriers in the construction industry, calling for more women to be encouraged to pursue trade careers.
Rachel Griffiths – who has thousands of followers on TikTok and Instagram – is a trailblazer in a male-dominated industry, where only 15% of those employed in construction are women, according to the Checkatrade Trade Skills Index report.
Despite being encouraged to explore other career paths at school, Rachel Griffiths has enjoyed a 10-year career in heating and plumbing after completing an apprenticeship with a small business in Flintshire.
She explained, “No one ever expects me to say that I’m a plumber.”
“I would say around 90% of customers I visit will mention something about me being a woman and ask me why I do it.”
“My appearance doesn’t fit the ideal stereotype of what a plumber should be and so people automatically assume that I’m not capable, but I know I’m more than capable, so I don’t let it affect me. Customers are always inquisitive but generally their reaction to me is positive.”
Rachel believes that more emphasis should be placed on trades as a possible career choice for women and young girls, and that schools and colleges need to do more to show it as a viable option.
“Going back to do A-Levels and then go to university was the only option that was encouraged [for me].
“Going into construction wasn’t even discussed by teachers. Even when I went to my college induction for the plumbing course, I was asked if I wanted to look at other course options instead.”
Despite the challenges faced by women in the industry, Rachel is happy with her career choice and encourages others to consider trades as a career path.
“I love getting up every morning, jumping in my van and going to a different place to do a different job than the day before.”
“No two days are the same and it never gets boring. The knowledge and skills you gain by working in the construction industry is something you’ll never lose and will help you through every part of your life.”
Rachel said that she works mainly in domestic properties “so I don’t often work among other trades.”
“However, in college and at the builder’s merchants for example it is very clear that construction is a male dominated industry.”
“Thanks to social media, I now know of hundreds of tradeswomen dotted across the country, but we are all one of few tradeswomen in our area.”
“The only other tradeswoman I know of in my area is my sister who is an electrician.”
Rachel’s story highlights the need for more women to be encouraged into trades careers.
Checkatrade’s new Get In scheme aims to do just that by encouraging girls and young people into trade careers.
The programme is actively looking for CVs from young people aged 16-25 who want to explore a career in trades.
Learn more about how learning a trade can build your future and submit your CV on their website. Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com