Laura Gwilliam, from Earby, has swapped her bedside manner for boilers, after taking the unusual step of joining her father’s business rather than pursuing a career in healthcare.
Now the twenty three year-old is urging other young women to consider Apprenticeships as a way to gain on-the-job training and real experience – and show that women can cut it in traditionally male-dominated industries.
Laura said: “I had always wanted to follow in my dad’s footsteps, but I didn’t think the opportunity would ever become available. After school, I started training to be a nurse but felt it wasn’t for me and I’d always been interested in plumbing after watching my dad build his business.
Having found out from her friend that Apprenticeships were on offer at nearby Training 2000, based in Blackburn, Laura jumped at the chance to gain some hands-on experience with her dad.
“At first I thought I might be too old to start an Apprenticeship, but Training 2000 has helped me to adapt and develop my skills”, said Laura.
“I enjoy the blend of study and work, and it’s really improved my confidence in speaking with clients and suppliers.
“Being a plumber is not always easy, as there is lots to learn and plenty of physical challenges. However, this is far outweighed by the banter I have on site with other contractors, and even clients are surprised when I turn up on their doorstep for a job!”
Laura began her plumbing Apprenticeship with the Blackburn-based training provider when she was nineteen after a colleague’s recommendation. Her Apprenticeship in plumbing has allowed her to practice all the core skills that she will require in her profession, including gas safety, servicing and commissioning.
Now Laura is working for her father’s business and studying for Level 2 and Level 3 NVQ qualifications part-time. In the future, she would like to take over her father’s company if the opportunity arises.
She added: “This Apprenticeship has given me an invaluable opportunity to gain the qualifications and skills I need to further my plumbing career, and hopefully one day I can own my own business.”
“From watching my dad as I grew up, I thought I knew exactly what to expect from plumbing, but I have learnt so much more about myself and the industry during this Apprenticeship.
“I would not hesitate to recommend Training 2000 Apprenticeships to anyone.”
Speaking of Laura’s progress, Lindsay Dust, career development advisor at Training 2000, said: “Laura is a fantastic student. Her drive and commitment is commendable, and a testament to the hard work that all our apprentices put in to their career development.”
“It is pleasing to see young people such as Laura setting out on a career path and working hard to achieve their goals.”