THE female boss of a Dorset plumbing business has echoed calls to get more women into the trade.
Sophie Morris runs the Poole franchise of Your Plumber and employs two staff – but says she only ever gets applications from men.
She spoke out after the Daily Echo reported that Sembcorp Bournemouth Water was among the companies backing the Get Girls Plumbing Campaign, run by the plumbing assurance scheme WaterSafe.
“Every time we recruit, we have no women that apply,” she said.
She said she spoke to Bournemouth and Poole College and found it had hardly any women on plumbing courses. But she said she was keen to recruit women.
“The reason for doing so is because I get quite a good response from people, especially customers, when I go and quote jobs,” she said.
“They find it refreshing that they haven’t got a lad there.
“They feel more comfortable.
“I don’t know why women think they can’t be plumbers.
“I think there needs to be a bit more encouragement to get women into it.”
Research for the Get Girls Plumbing campaign found that nearly a third of customers would prefer a woman plumber to work in their home. It found 38 per cent of women would learn a trade if they had their time over again. Twenty-four per cent were not advised to take up a trade whilst at school, instead being encouraged into more traditionally female roles such as administration or secretarial work. Sophie was a bank manager until six years ago, when she went to work for her brother, who ran the headquarters in Bournemouth of the Your Plumber franchise operation.
After taking plumbing courses to improve her knowledge of the business, she set up her own franchise three years ago.
She prices and manages the jobs but leaves the work to fully-qualified plumber David Tongs, who has been with her for three years, and apprentice Matthew Brocklehurst, who was hired last summer.
“I think it’s such a rewarding job,” she said.
She said other people in the business were still surprised to find a woman running a plumbing company. She said: “You walk into a plumbing merchant you haven’t been to before and their jaws drop.”