Happy International Women’s Day!
Over the years a number of leaders in male-dominated industries have recognised the underutilised pool of talent that women represent. They have taken commendable steps to change their organisational cultures, in ways that both attract female employees and help them to thrive.
Chances are these days women are not going to be alone when signing up for that apprenticeship, putting on those Blundstone boots for a hard day’s work on the tools, or securing that Management position within any industry – where back in the day you would never have gotten a foot in the door unless you were applying to be part of the typing pool.
Support for women in trades, or trade related business has grown and there are organisations out there that women can look to for networking opportunities, and a way to further explore trade opportunities. Groups such as:
Cook’s are extremely proud to encourage and support the many women we have in various roles across the business, who have contributed to making it the success it is today.
Pic: Women representing North Rocks Head Office. Absent: Women from Penrith Builders Dept, NSW & QLD Showroom Consultants
For International Women’s Day (IWD) this year, we’d like to acknowledge all the wonderful women out there, but in particular we’ve asked Taelor (our East Brisbane Branch Manager) and Ruby (Plumber and one of our trade customers) to answer a couple of questions….
Taelor – Cook’s Branch Manager – East Brisbane
How long have you been with Cook’s?
Did you come from the industry?
Yes, I have been in the plumbing industry for 10 years.
What does a typical work day in the life of Taelor look like?
With a 4am alarm to start off my day, it continues on with working in the branch alongside my team, whether it be serving customers on the counter, picking orders to go out for delivery or putting together quotes and liaising with suppliers.
Apart from challenges that come with any job regardless of industry, have you always felt comfortable when progressing your career in the industry over the years?
I feel like during my time in our industry I have had nothing but support from the key people around me. Whether that has been managers or peers, I have received great encouragement for what I wanted to achieve.
In general, do you think as a Country or State we are embracing and encouraging equality for women in the workplace as well as we should be?
The media provides us with lots of negative feedback and examples of lack of equality, however I can only speak from my own experiences. I believe that as an industry it is definitely progressing. It is fantastic to see so many intelligent women being celebrated. Organisations such as the ones mentioned above and companies proudly posting the achievements of the women within their company on platforms such as this, and the likes of Linkedin etc, assist with the awareness and creates a positive vibe for others to follow suit within their businesses.
What qualities do you believe make a great leader?
I believe that patience and understanding are two important qualities – this is what brings a team together. Along with leading by example - I wouldn’t ask my employees to do something that I haven’t already done, or something that I wouldn’t do. Showing them that I am 100% part of the team, and that I will roll up my sleeves and get my hands dirty alongside them, is something that really matters.
Outside of work, how do you chill out – hobbies/interests?
I enjoy spending my down time with family and friends. Taking my dog to the beach…etc.
Ruby – Plumber – Cook’s Trade Customer
When were you first interested in pursuing a trade? How did you get into your trade?
I first decided I wanted to start a trade after I finished year 12. I honestly had no clue what I wanted to do as a career, but my dad offered me a plumbing apprenticeship with his company and I thought "What have I got to lose?''.
Who do you work for? How did you get involved with them? What are some of your favourite things about working for them as a female Tradie?
I work for Roseriver Pty Ltd. The owner and director is my Dad, Matt. Working for him definitely has its perks, I’ve basically had one on one attention throughout my whole apprenticeship, which has made learning and understanding all aspects of the trade so much easier. He has a lot of patience.
What’s one thing you can’t live without on site?
One thing I can’t live without on site is honestly my iPhone! It’s a life saver, for immediate pricing without a phone call (Cook’s Connect), technical specs, calculator and you can’t forget the torch!
Funniest work moment?
Would have to be the time that Dad literally had to lower me into a tank, feet first, so I could do some work in a pump well
Hardest/most challenging aspect of being a woman in a trade?
The hardest part of being a female tradie I think is the fact that you have to prove yourself a lot more. Often people assume because I’m female I’m incapable of doing physical work, which certainly isn’t the case.
If you weren’t a Plumber what do you think you’d be doing?
I think I’d like to work in interior design focusing on high end bathrooms, wet rooms and kitchens.
Advice to other women looking to get into trade work?Go for it! Honestly, it’s the best decision I’ve ever made, I’ve learnt so much about not only the plumbing industry but the construction industry in general, and not to mention a lot about myself and what I’m capable of.
Are male bathrooms really more disgusting than female ones?
NO! Common misconception, girls’ bathrooms are disgusting! Much worse than men’s a lot of the time. Get it together ladies!
Favourite job you’ve worked on and why
I don’t think i have a favourite job so much as favourite places to work. I am so lucky to have worked in some amazing places with stunning views.
What makes it worth it- i.e. what makes you love your job at the end of the day?
My job gives me a sense of achievement and accomplishment every day. It’s a challenge, always - I enjoy working out problems and it keeps me fit and healthy!
Do you have any advice to women wanting to do their own reno, from a tradies perspective?
If you’re wanting to do your own reno’s you really are capable of doing so much yourself without trades people, like the demolition or decorating, just make sure you get the right advice first!
Outside of work, how do you chill out – hobbies/interests?
Outside of work I’m very social, I see my friends a lot and definitely enjoy a big night out. I like gardening at home and chilling in the sun in my down time and I also like to scuba dive!