Natalia's story

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What inspired you to study plumbing? 

Originally, I went to university to study health science. I figured it wasn’t really for me, so I worked in retail for a while before figuring out what I wanted to do. 

I saw WelTec’s plumbing course online and decided it was time to try something different, so I enrolled for the next trimester. I also looked at carpentry, but I knew there wasn’t many females in the plumbing trade, and I wanted to be different. 

 

How did the Māori and Pacific Trades Training scholarship support you? 

It helped me out in many ways. It funded my whole course which was really helpful because I was still paying off my university debt at the time. I got a pair of free, quality steel-cap boots which I still use in my role now, and it also paid for me to get my driver’s licence. 

 

What did you learn at WelTec that helps you in your role now? 

I got a lot out of studying. It gave me the basic knowledge that I needed to get started, so when I applied for my job, I already had knowledge and expertise to offer which helped me stand out from the crowd. 

 

What’s it like being a wāhine in the trades industry? 

At first it was intimidating, but my tutors made a huge effort to make me feel comfortable and welcome. I really want to inspire more women to get into the trades – women can do anything, if we set our minds to it. 

 

What does a day in your life look like? 

I always check my schedule first thing and then prepare for the jobs I’m doing that day. I pack all the tools I need, go to the suppliers to collect the gear and head out for the day. 

I’m a first-year apprentice which means I work under the supervision of a qualified tradesman throughout the day. 

 

What do you love about your job? 

I love meeting people in the community. I love that my job is super rewarding. I love that people really appreciate the work we do for them, like fixing something they normally take for granted. 

At the end of the day, we are the frontline people who make sure your toilet works, you have hot water, and you can drink clean water from a tap. 

 

What would you say to someone considering studying plumbing or trades? 

Trades are awesome. It opens the door to so many opportunities – there are so many avenues you can go down and you’ll meet people in different areas of the industry that will come in handy. 

You can go anywhere in the world with trade skills, and you’ll always have a job.

 

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Hawkins Plumbing has been serving Wellington for over 25 years and was Wellington's first recipient of the much sought after New Zealand Master Plumber of the Year title. Natalia is an Apprentice specialising in plumbing, gas fitting and roofing.
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