Gina Mann


Gina, a plumber, is one of JTL’s newest Ambassadors, joining the now 23-strong group in 2016. She works alongside her fellow Ambassadors to spread the word about the opportunities that exist for young women in the building services engineering sector.

Gina is 29 years old and lives in Faversham in Kent with her six year old daughter, Loki.

When she left school, Gina was unsure what career she wished to pursue and worked in various roles, including waitressing, as well as running a lively rugby club. Becoming a single parent at 23 gave Gina the impetus she needed to make some changes and lead to her enrolling on a plumbing apprenticeship in 2014.

She is now in the second year of her course, studying for an NVQ Level 2 Diploma, working four days a week on the job with Swale Heating and spending the remaining day at Canterbury College. An average working day sees Gina preparing sites, installing pipework, radiators and valves and carrying out general repairs and maintenance. 

Gina says: “If you had asked me 13 years ago what I would be doing as a profession I would never in a million years have thought I would be working within the plumbing industry. However, my perceptions have been proved wrong and the opportunity to take on an apprenticeship has been a positive one for me. It seems the best route for me to take, getting to study for a relevant qualification and gain experience at the same time.

“There are other benefits too. I’ve matured and become more reflective since I started as an apprentice. I’ve become really motivated and, above all, the social experience of dealing with various professionals and clients has improved my confidence – so much so that I’m now a JTL Ambassador, with a skill that I previously thought was far out of my reach.”

Gina’s apprenticeship is ongoing and she hopes to continue to NVQ Level 3 and beyond. She’s interested in gaining experience in gas work, as well as tutoring and potentially running her own business.

There have been some challenges along the way for Gina too. Sometimes she’s struggled with long hours and she’s had to build up her physical strength – as she says, “carrying water tanks takes beef!”  She is still enjoying the reactions she receives from some clients when she arrives at their homes – they’re not always expecting to see a female plumber but she reports that the feedback and reactions have been really positive.

In Gina’s own words: “An apprenticeship is hard but it’s rewarding and it gives you direction and focus - one thing I wish I had back when I was younger. Apprenticeships in the construction industry in particular are mentally and physically challenging but they are well suited to anyone who wants to obtain a flavour of what it means to be a professional in your chosen industry, whilst tapping into a valuable source of support in terms of your professional qualification”. 

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