Teen apprentice plumber washes away stereotypes

Toni-Sarria McMullen won the Construction Skills Queensland Encouragement Award at the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) Awards last year, and more recently she was something of a drawcard at Construction Skills Queensland’s Women in Construction Try’a Trade Day.The Macgregor State High School student said her NAWIC award was a major surprise. “My mum and employer were so proud of me and it was nice to be recognised even though I had only just started my apprenticeship,” she said. The award capped a whirlwind two-year journey in construction, one which began in Toni-Sarria’s Year 10 graphics class. It was there she took an interest in plumbing graphics, which inspired her to undertake some hands-on plumbing work. “I got started by doing work experience one day a week over 10 weeks and really enjoyed it,” she said. The intrepid student signed up for a school-based apprenticeship in Year 11 last year with local employer Cliffcorp Plumbing. Through the apprentice scheme Toni-Sarria has been able to balance work commitments with a broad range of other school subjects including Maths A, English Communications, Work Education and Dance. In the long term, Toni-Sarria is dedicated to being a qualified plumber and believes her career choice will provide satisfaction and reap financial rewards. Construction Skills Queensland holds regular Try’a Trade days and events, which give young people an opportunity to try their hand at different trades and speak to those already working in those areas.

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