Suffolk New College is taking part in World Plumbing Day, celebrated on Saturday, promoting a trend that has led to an increase in the number of women in construction.
A Go Compare report shows that between 2009 and 2019, the number of women pursuing education in construction and engineering increased by 366%.
Whilst this large number has not been fully replicated at Ipswich College, there has been a notable increase in applications from women for building courses, particularly in plumbing.
Kayleigh Reid, one of three students on the second year plumbing course at Suffolk New College, decided to learn plumbing as she eventually wanted to start her own property development company.
The 32-year-old student from Ipswich said: “Over the years people have tried to put me off a career in construction but the more they told me I couldn’t do it the more I wanted to prove them wrong.
“I started this course because I see it as an investment in myself.
“I’ve had mental health issues in the past so I like the job because it keeps you in the moment, you don’t bring stuff home and it can be therapeutic.”
Kayleigh’s sister Shelby, 25, who is also at the same level on the plumbing course, said: “Our family has someone in every area of construction except a plumber, so I thought why not become a plumber?
“I would say to other women who are considering it, if you enjoy being hands-on, this is a great career and this is a perfect opportunity to try something different.”
Another student, Annie Smith, 19, added: “When I worked in the care industry people tried to scare me off all the time by saying plumbers were for men – but that just spurred me on.
“I chose plumbing and really enjoyed it.”