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Setting female plumbers up for success

Posted on Feb 09, 2024

It's not uncommon for kids to follow in their parents or relatives footsteps when it comes to choosing a career.

If you talk to a plumbing apprentice you might find they are a second or third generation plumber taking in their father’s or uncle’s footsteps.

According to a recent article jointly published by the PPTEU and Raw Group this sort of intergenerational connection is less common for females entering the industry.

As of November 2023, women made up 2 per cent of the national plumbing industry.

According to the PPTEU “There is absolutely no reason why women cannot make up a much greater proportion of the skilled plumbers and pipefitters of tomorrow and we are working with industry partners to take steps to make that happen”.

Women in Plumbing Program

About 12 months ago they met with RAW GTO (Group Training Organisation) to come up with a solution, a program that would support women throughout their apprenticeship.

This support is a missing piece of the puzzle for those that don’t have plumbers in the family to turn to throughout their apprenticeship.

The pilot program worked to attract young women into apprenticeship programs and then worked with EBA employers to find them supportive sites to take them on.

The program is great. I get to learn with other women, which is nice, and helps to build connections. Those connections are really important, because they will help the next generation of women coming through if there is a strong group of women already doing it.

Hazel, second-year apprentice

The participants train at one of PICAC’s state of the art facilities in either Brunswick or Narre Warren, as well as gaining on-site experience through their employer.

Talking about her experience in the program participant Lillie said “Being a part of the program and having the support of RAW GTO really helps. They do all the arrangements with the host employer, and make sure everything works. If there is a problem, I can talk to them. I feel very well supported at work and in training”.

Hazel a second-year apprentice and mum of two has loved taking part in the program “I would say to girls out there thinking about giving plumbing a go, is that yes, it is challenging but also very rewarding at the same time. The friends you’ll make along the way make it so worth it and the support offered by not only my employer (RAW/PPTEU Women) but also the guys on site who only want to teach you the best ways of the trade, help you tremendously through your apprenticeship journey”.

You can read the full article and learn more about the program here.

Find out more

If you or someone you know might be interested in this program you can reach out to Russell Menzies at

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