Hollie Heffer


Having left school at 16, Hollie is now in the second year of a plumbing apprenticeship with Swale Heating, based in Sittingbourne, Kent.

Swale is the biggest independent heating company in Kent and Sussex, with the bulk of the company’s work coming from boiler installation and heating maintenance.

Hollie lives in Herne Bay and works across the Folkestone and Dover area.

During her final year in full-time education, Hollie took work experience positions in a range of different trades. Her plumbing role, which lasted for a couple of months, captured Hollie’s interest and also suited her character. As a result, Hollie took on a role at Swale Heating and subsequently enrolled on a JTL apprenticeship. She now works on domestic projects, shadowing one of Swale’s experienced plumbers. Hollie also takes on small projects of her own, under supervision from her workplace witness, who offers practical and technical assistance and also helps with issues such as time management.

“It’s a great job and I’m thoroughly enjoying my apprenticeship,” says Hollie. “I’m learning loads and earning at the same time. As a female working as a plumber, you definitely get remembered more and there’s plenty of banter but I’m treated normally, just like one of the lads. I would have struggled to work behind a desk but I love being out and about, meeting lots of different people and doing different jobs all the time.

“There are other benefits of being a female plumber too – you don’t have to decide what to wear when you wake up in the morning for a start. The trousers are unisex though so they’re not the greatest fit and women’s work boots are hard to find. I think I need to design my own women’s work wear range!

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