I like interesting people… meet The Plumbette.
Can you really have it all? I’ve asked myself this question so many times because I WANT it all, but I’m pretty sure I can’t HANDLE it all at once.
My name is Rebecca Senyard, and I am a female plumber or plumbette, a stylist, a blogger, a wife, a mother, and soon-to-be mum to another bub. The more I get older, the more responsibilities I either get handed to me or throw myself into.
Being a female plumber can be daunting but it can be extremely satisfying helping people in a practical way. Did I always want to be a plumber? No. As I grew up and watched my dad run a plumbing business, the passion for plumbing did not get passed down to me, but the determination to build a business that assisted others did.
Just to be up front now, I’m not a tomboy and I’m not gay. Never have been or intend to be. No discrimination or judgement here from ladies who are! I love my dresses, my shoes, make-up and shopping like any other woman and just because I choose to work in a male dominant industry, doesn’t mean I have to ‘grow balls’ to be noticed or taken seriously. I get noticed without trying. I stick out like a sore thumb, but for the right reasons – for doing my job well and offering an alternative choice for stay at home mum’s who wish to use the services of a female plumber.
Since becoming a mum, I have enjoyed being a plumber more. I love interacting with our clients, assisting them with their plumbing problems and being able to work when I want. I work with my dad as a ‘dad and daughter’ plumbing team. I will admit that there are some plumbing jobs I just don’t have the strength to do on my own, but working with my dad means I won’t get stuck, and since my dad is semi-retired, it allows him to keep active too.
Doing my plumbing apprenticeship was one of the hardest experiences I have ever gone through. It’s no cliché that apprentice boys like to talk dirty. Porn magazines were the norm at TAFE, as was the swearing and rough talk. For me, I found TAFE the hardest part of my apprenticeship to deal with. For some strange reason, I wanted to ‘fit in’ and yet, the values these blokes had were so far below my own. It made me realise how important it is to all of us to be accepted and to not feel left out.
In the last year of my apprenticeship, I had to finish 3 blocks of TAFE (approximately 12 weeks). Every lunch break, the apprentices would have lunch at the local pub that had topless waitresses. Totally not my scene. So I went to the library and decided to Study a Diploma in Fashion Styling. It was completely random and opposite to plumbing and I loved every part of the course. I started a part-time styling business called Styled By Bec – really as a back-up if I ever chose to leave plumbing.
Nowadays, I work 1 to 2 days a week on the tools as a plumber, I blog about being a plumber and offering advice about problems I come across in my trade on The Plumbette, I style clients and sell jewellery on Madeit.com.au as per client demand and I have a fabulous husband whom I have been married to for over 7 years and 1.5 kids! I love my life, and enjoy all the hats I choose to put on. My constants are my husband and my daughter (and soon to be baby). They take priority – all the other roles assist with being able to pay for the bills or keep my mind active. As most mum’s know it can be hard work being a full-time stay at home mum and sometimes… it can be boring.
I’m not perfect. I struggle with balancing work and family. My life isn’t perfect. I know that life can be hard, but we have a choice to be real and be positive no matter what is going on in our lives.
I have faith in God. I always believe that things happen to us for a reason and God is able to do immeasurably more than we can think or imagine. I have never felt more close to God than when I was struggling to do my apprenticeship. Four years later He honoured me with Dux Plumbing Apprentice of the Year for 2009 and the Judges Outstanding Achievement award at the Construction Skills QLD Awards in the same year. There are always rainbows after the rain, but sometimes we miss them because we are so focused on how the rain is stopping us from getting to where we want to be.
So can we really have it all? Yes and no. I think it comes down to choice – choosing to be content with what can’t be changed, and changing what we can despite the risk.
Rebecca Senyard is Brisbane’s Award winning plumbette! She started her apprenticeship in 2006 and received her provisional plumbing and drainage license early 2011. The Plumbette is Rebecca’s blog on all things plumbing, including experiences working in a ‘man’s world’. It’s Plumbing worth blogging about! This blog is written for men and women who haven’t a clue about plumbing and want to know more, for plumbers and apprentices who can relate to Rebecca’s experiences, and for girls who wish to embark on a career as a plumber or in any other male-dominated profession. It’s really for anyone who wants to read it and be inspired or thankful that they don’t get to deal with what plumbers deal with everyday!