Tradeswomen Australia caught up with Penny now that she has entered her 3rd year of her plumbing apprenticeship.  We asked her to think back to those first few weeks and months in her apprenticeship and answer a few questions.

How did you feel the first day you started at CAB?
I was nervous but excited. I did a CERT II pre-apprenticeship at Box Hill TAFE.  I am really excited that I stayed with the course as plumbing needs lots of muscles and I worried about being able to do the job and just hoped I could get through.  But, I have developed more muscles while being in the job and can lift whatever I need to.

What was the first few weeks at TAFE like? How many women are in your year?
At TAFE I was the only female in the class, and I was a bit nervous.  It turned out to be good as we are all learning, and we can share experiences and practice together.  We kept asking questions and the teacher was really good and no matter what we asked they tried to answer and past on their past experience to us

Has the mix of working and studying suited you?
My TAFE is the whole week and 4 or so weeks of work.  It is good and bad in that we spend the week at TAFE studying but then we have to adjust back to the hours of work!

What do you think is the best thing about your apprenticeship, so far?
The support we get is good and the plumbers (I work with) are good at answering questions.

In the first few months was there anything about your apprenticeship which wasn’t what you expected.
I was expecting to just dig holes for the first year which is what a lot of apprentices do.  But it is not like that at CAB.  I follow other plumbers around to different jobs and get to do different tasks so I am learning quickly.

What advice would you give someone who was interested in doing an apprenticeship?
Women in trades are getting more support than 10 years ago so if you really want to try it, just try it and don’t hesitate.  If I have any problems at CAB I just look for help or ask the teacher at TAFE.