Durban — The plumbing professional body has encouraged women to join the industry, saying despite significant growth in diversity, a mere 4% of women plumbers was a number that could grow if given attention.
Rendani Tshivhula a PR & Stakeholder Engagement Manager at Plumbing Industry Registration Board (PIRB) said plumbers were unsung heroes whose skills and knowledge made modern life convenient, healthy and safe.
PIRB supervises the competency level of the plumbing industry and encourages advanced plumbing practices that protect the environment and the health and safety of consumers.
He said September – Heritage Month – was when they focused on the spirit of diversity, inclusivity, transformation and equality.
“The problem is the stereotypes that go with plumbing, it has not been given the dignity and pride it deserves. Whether you are a lawyer, president or any prominent person in the world you need to go to the toilet, that is how essential the plumber is. The moment the youth grasps this, we can all understand that plumbing is not gender-oriented,” said Tshivhula.
He said the plumbing industry was not recognised anywhere near enough for being an essential service, but life as we know it would be impossible and unsanitary without plumbers.
“As proudly essential pros, their work hardly ever stops. They are often called out at night, over weekends, holidays, or even midnight (for) emergencies. The importance of plumbers to our communities extends even to environmental protection and water conservation, in which they play a key role,” he said.
He said plumbers should be given the respect they deserve because “they are handling the most valuable commodity”.
“Plumbing is a lucrative industry which was lacking professionalism before. Young people need to do their research to seize the opportunities available for them. In order to make this a reality we need everyone to be involved. And another thing I have never seen a broke plumber,” said Tshivhula.
He made mention of women like Jabulile Nkosi who is the founder of Mellita Trading and inspection auditor for The Institute of Plumbing South Africa (IOPSA) and Lorraine Mooi the president of South Africa Women in Plumbing.
Mooi said after attaining a qualification in financial information, she found that she had no interest in pursuing a career in that field.
She said her mother suggested that she entered the plumbing industry. Some 15 years later, Lorraine continues to steam ahead.
“Plumbing is an amazing field to join. If you have an interest, find out if there is an IOPSA in your area and attend a meeting. You will meet wonderful people,” Mooi said.
Referring to the board’s mandate he said the PIRB was to further ensure the application and enforcement of South African National Standards and Codes of Practice.
PIRB-licensed plumbers are required to issue a PIRB Certificate of Compliance on all their plumbing works done, and PIRB also conducts random checks on plumbing jobs carried out by its members to ensure that the required standards are maintained and thus protect the integrity of the industry.
“In the unlikely event that you fall victim to shoddy plumbing work carried out by a PIRB-registered plumber, you can raise complaints to PIRB. This keeps the industry in check. So, ensuring you use one of PIRB’s registered plumbers for your entertainment area will ensure your project starts off on the right foot,” he said.
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