International Women's Day - Sarah Avery
Sarah (Mumsie or Mother A) Avery
Plumbing & Gas Works Ltd
What do you do in your current role?
Make sure everyone else is getting their tasks completed on time and to a high standard, including our apprentices, office staff, Contracts Manager and General Manager. QA inspections of completed work with a customer focus, rather than a plumbers eye. Compiling operations manuals. Continuous process improvement. Maintaining our training register and getting staff booked on the required training, so it doesn’t lapse when people are busy. We’re always busy, so someone needs to make sure it happens.
What do you particularly enjoy about it?
Seeing an idea from conception, through development and testing to implementation and knowing that I was an integral part of making it happen.
How long have you been with your organisation?
Almost 8 years
How do you find working in a male dominated industry?
It was a bit of any eye opener when I first started especially as I came from a corporate environment. I got out of corporate to escape the “office politics”. There are far less of those when working with males.
Have you encountered any specific challenges?
When talking to people for the first time, the majority would assume that I was involved in the business because my husband must have been a plumber. People are surprised this is not the case. Another challenge was I felt I needed to prove my worth and be seen as someone who can do more than just answer the phone calls. Some of the guys were harder to convince. They now see the benefit of having good support in the office and someone who pushes them to complete paperwork etc.
Please share any standout moments in your life.
Being nominated and winning the Allproof Women in the Industry NZMP award.
What does your organisation do for inclusion and diversity?
We employ a range of cultures, ages, and genders. We previously had a female apprentice, but unfortunately, she moved to another town.
What or who inspires you?
Seeing our team working together to meet a tight timeframe or challenge at a work site. I enjoy going to site and having staff show me what they have been up to and how proud they are of their work.
What do you wish you had known before you started in your profession?
I always thought I “needed” to work in corporate to fulfil my career goals. But once I had kids that was put on the backburner. Working in this type of role has given me the work life balance needed and opened new opportunities to still achieve what I wanted to achieve. I have also been able to see how great an apprenticeship is, especially for the generation just coming out of school. My oldest son is in his 1st year of his apprenticeship and loving working, learning, and earning money at the same time.
What would you tell another woman interested in the plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying industry?
Jump in boots and all. Once you are in the industry you have many options available to you, be it working for a plumbing company, supplier, or manufacturer. Everyone seems to look out for each other as well.
International Women's Day is about a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that's diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women's equality.
Find out more: www.internationalwomensday.com