Rachael is a powerful, driven and engaging tradeswomen with fourteen years of plumbing experience. She was recognised for her training excellence as an apprentice of the year, and was the winner of the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) Women in Plumbing and Gas Award. Her construction company All Round Solutions is based on the Gold Coast and they specialise in concrete rectification, renovations and assisting special needs clients through NDIS. TWA were delighted to chat with her recently to talk about her background, experience and “pearls of wisdom” for future female tradies:
You’ve built an incredible business and are a true trailblazer with 14 years of experience in the field. Tell us whether you have any future goals in store?
I’d like to grow my business to a point where I’m no longer working in it. That will allow me to free up more time to concentrate more on my property investments and related personal renovations – think HGTV! *laughs* I wish…
Busy with three businesses, do you have any spare time to yourself?
I pretty much just work. I love my businesses – it’s hectic, challenging, and sometimes I think I’m going crazy. But somehow it all works. I make time to be involved in several tradeswomen groups – the girls are not only my peers, but my friends. I also love property investment, reading, gardening, gym and hanging out with family and friends. I’m also trying to learn Spanish (and suck!).
Thinking back on your apprenticeship, were you encouraged to take up a trade?
Yes, I actually got family pressure to take up a trade! My father gave me a big push actually. I took it up so I could earn at the same time I learnt (no HECS debt afterwards), and I was provided an excellent opportunity with a group training company in Plumbing. Looking back on it a trade enabled me to learn life skills that were transferable, and provided me with a qualification and experience I could use regardless of location.
What drew you to plumbing out of all the trades?
It was something that I could do physically – was a bit small and weakish when I started. It’s a trade that protected – it requires strict licensing, so that’s also something that drew me to it. Plus my brother was already an electrician and we didn’t need two in the family…
You obviously made the right trade choice!
It pays the bills! I like plumbing because it’s results driven, hands on and it also has a creative side to it (such as design). The people you work with make it fun too. There’s this casual feel to the job which is great – you use informal language, you can play music and make jokes while you’re working. It can be physically demanding, like a hardcore workout *laughs*. You’re constantly problem solving, and always learning something. I love the dynamic nature of it, the changes – you work in a variety of locations and settings.
What’s your favourite part of the job then?
Probably concept through to final result. During a renovation, I love pulling away at the layers built up over time and then seeing it come back together as you near fitoff.
Looking through your credentials, you’ve really been committed to upskilling yourself to accomplish what you want. Tell us what you’ve undertaken in order to start your own business?
Of course, I’m a trade qualified plumber, that was completed back in 2007 or 2008 I think. To get into building, construction and civil I completed a Diploma of Building and Construction as well as a Cert III in Civil Construction. For my business, I completed a Diploma of Management and Diploma of Business. I also completed a Cert III in Training and Assessment for training purposes.
Finally, what are your words of wisdom for women considering the plumbing trade?
Be prepared to work hard. Be prepared for a lot of “no”s. It is going to be tough. But with the right attitude and a strong mindset you will succeed. Use your current support system, and reach out to the tradeswomen community regularly for support too.
We thank Rachael for taking time out of her hectic schedule to chat to us.
As Rachael advised, it’s really important to tap into the tradeswomen networks to get as much support as you can through your apprenticeship and trade journey. Subscribe with TWA today to join our tradeswomen network and get that support you need – https://mailserver.m-pages.com/NdLnqm/newsletter-signup.