Plumbing the perfect career change for new graduate

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From pulling pints to unblocking pipes, Halley Edgar has no regrets about giving up her bartending job to study to become a plumber. Nor is she fazed about being a female in a male-dominated industry.

“I was the only female on my course, and I enjoyed the change of scenery,” Ms Edgar says.

“In hospitality, making conversation and small talk is part of the job, whereas in trades everyone just wants to get the job done which suited me perfectly.”

Ms Edgar is about to graduate from Wintec with a Certificate in Pre-Trades (Plumbing and Gasfitting) — but plumbing wasn’t her first study choice.

After working as a bartender at SkyCity Hamilton for three years, she decided to study Bar and Restaurant Service at Wintec so she could gain a liquor license and start advancing her hospitality career.

After completing the six-month course, she had a change of heart, so canvassed her friends to find out who liked their jobs the most.

“My friends who were the happiest in their jobs were all tradies, yet none of my friends were plumbers. There’s a shortage of tradespeople and the industry is booming so it seemed like a good option for me,” she says.

Ms Edgar soon found that she loved the work. “Plumbing is hands-on and requires lots of problem solving which I love. I also really enjoyed the work experience aspect of the course.

“I worked at FB Hall & Co for two weeks, and the observation and one-on-one time I gained there was invaluable.

“Wintec was amazing! The facilities are great, and the tutors really take the time to get to know you. They have real-world experience, and teach you the tricks of the trade.”

Ms Edgar is currently looking for a plumbing apprenticeship in Hamilton. She’s keen to get an apprenticeship where she can work towards becoming a qualified plumber and get a few years’ plumbing experience under her belt.

She’s dreaming big for the future, and wants to set up her own trades business where all the trades staff — plumbers, electricians and builders — are female.

Ms Edgar will join more than 2000 other Wintec graduates celebrating success at Wintec Graduation ceremonies from March 16 to 21.