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Charlise Hadolt never planned on being a plumber.

“I actually wanted to be a builder,” she says. “I’m very creative. Ever since I was little I’ve always loved to be out with dad and building things, cutting things up. Even if it was ugly, it was still just fun to do!”

But after encouragement from a family friend, Charlise signed up for two weeks of work experience at a plumbing firm. “I loved it, it was so fun. Something different. And it’s not what people may think, we don’t play with poo!

Changing the game

Charlise is out to make plumbing’s reputation as a ‘girl-friendly’ trade the industry norm. She did work experience across six different companies before landing her Howrah Plumbing job, and was happy to shake up any outdated perceptions she came across.

“Some people didn’t think that girls would be able to lift as much, or do the hard jobs, or they probably didn’t think I would want to do the dirty work.

“I’ve always loved to be hands-on and I’m not scared to get dirty. I was hungry to prove them wrong. I really, really, really wanted the job. There are so many benefits like the learning, and money is a big thing especially at the moment. In a trade, you’re always going to have work.”

She’s also been buoyed by the welcome she’s received from homeowners on maintenance jobs. “I’ve noticed a lot of older women love girls being there. I’ve had a lot of women say, ‘I wish there were more girls in plumbing, I’d call them’”

Be what you can see

Charlise credits Howrah Plumbing owner Cath McDowell as a mentor and an inspiration.

“She’s definitely a role model,” says Charlise. “She feels like my best friend. I’ll go into the office and I can have a chat with her and she understands.”

When it was time for Charlise to progress from home maintenance to construction projects, Cath personally drove her to the worksite and introduced her to everyone.

“She ran me through it all, said if you have any problems let me know, if you’re not happy here let me know. We can do anything you want. So I felt really safe.”

“I honestly thought I’d never be able to know the stuff I know now. But the more I keep going, the more I learn. I’m also proud of myself because it took me so long to get this job.

“It was so worth it because if I stopped, I obviously wouldn’t be where I am today. And it’s amazing, the job I have!”

When I finish my apprenticeship, I can go be a gas fitter, or go put fridges in, I can go put air cons in. When you’re a builder you just sort of work in the one spot, where plumbing has more variety.
Keystone Tasmania
Keystone Tasmania is the peak organisation facilitating building and construction industry workforce development in Tasmania.
We acknowledge the palawa people as the traditional custodians of the land on which we learn and work. We honour their enduring culture and knowledges as vital to the self-determination, wellbeing and resilience of their communities.

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