Inspirational Gemma ignored dad’s advice to ‘marry a plumber’ and became one herself

She may be one of the few female plumbers in Pontyberem, Llanelli, but 30-year-old mother Gemma has balanced motherhood with working in a male-dominated industry.

In fact WalesOnline Reports Gemma, who has her own business as a heating engineer, is one of the preferred plumbers for female clients in the region.

When she was 15, her father advised her to marry a plumber, because it was a well-paid profession. However, Gemma got the bug and went to college to study plumbing, and despite being the only woman she said she had a great time and being in a group of men didn’t phase her.

Recognized at university for her dedication to the trade, Gemma won the Welsh National Plumbing competition and has continued to excel in the trade throughout her eight years.

'My father told me to marry a plumber, so I became one myself' Gemma Pickett
‘My father told me to marry a plumber, so I became one myself’ Gemma Pickett

Later, when Gemma became pregnant with her son, she wondered what she would do to be a mother and work. So, four years ago, she decided to start her own company, GCI Plumbing, so she could work around her kids — and it turned out better than she ever imagined.

She said: “When you do something you enjoy, the passion is there to do your best to continue and improve yourself. As a woman, I like pushing the women in the trade to show them that they can do it themselves. I think a lot of women are holding back from the profession because they may be worried they won’t fit in, so hopefully a successful woman in my profession will inspire other women.”

Gemma has built a strong clientele with her company and recently hired her first female apprentice.

She also asked her local university if anyone would be interested in helping a woman with an internship.

She said, “I would definitely like to hire more women in the future, especially just to help them. If they want to stay with me or do their own thing, I’d be happy to give them the guide they need.”

Gemma’s hard work and determination have paid off as she advances to the semi-finals of the famed Screwfix Top Tradesperson 2021 competition.

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