Female plumbers 'on the rise'

The number of women working as a tradesperson has never been higher, according to new research.

Figures released by IronmongeryDirect have found one in 20 are now female, which is a higher proportion than the number of migrant workers employed in the sector.

IronmongeryDirect managing director Wayne Lysaght-Mason said: "Good tradespeople are highly prized and an influx of women into the trades would help meet growing demand, for example in the housing sector, as well as providing a great career for women looking to grow their own businesses."

Dubbing the study's findings as "the emergence of white van women", Mr Lysaght-Mason said the trend could continue to grow as the economy strengthens.

The plumbing industry in particular seems to be taking significant steps to welcome more women into the trade.

One example of this happening is in Dagenham, where a local vocational skills centre is offering a select group of females the opportunity to complete a plumbing course for free.

The Barking and Dagenham Post reports Choice Training's apprenticeships would normally cost £3,200, but bosses have decided to let four women complete the 36-week programme without paying a penny. Starting in September, it's hoped the move will encourage more females to at least consider the possibility of working as a plumber.

Earlier this year, industry assurance organisation WaterSafe launched the 'Girls Get Plumbing' campaign to try to increase the proportion of qualified women professionals.

Its survey on the issue found 31 per cent of consumers would actually prefer a female to carry out the work needed on their property, as they would "feel safer". There was also the perception they would be less likely to be ripped off.

However, the same scheme also found that over a third of girls studying at college felt as though their male counterparts were given more encouragement to pursue careers involving manual labour.

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