The Award-Winning Women At The 2023 Plumbing And Gas Industry Awards
The future of the industry is a future with everyone – no matter their gender, race, or age. This year, three women took the stage at the 2023 Plumbing and Gas Industry Awards to represent all the amazing women of the industry working on and off the tools.
Kirsty Train with the Hon. Mick de Brenni MP, Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen and Minister for Public Works and Procurement
Kirsty Train - Grace Gas Fitting, Plumbing and Home Maintenance
Department of Energy and Public Works Tradesperson of the Year
Prioritising family values is the cornerstone of Kirsty Train's philosophy, a principle she embodies as the director and lead tradesperson of Grace Gas Fitting, Plumbing, and Home Maintenance in Toowoomba. With a remarkable 16-year tenure in the plumbing and gas industry, Kirsty has carved a remarkable path. Her dedication is underscored by a steadfast commitment to technical proficiency, with a particular specialisation in the intricate realm of gas fitting—an integral facet of the industry.
In the past year, Kirsty's pursuit of excellence has propelled her beyond her comfort zone. She has eagerly expanded her skill set, collaborating with local plumbers to facilitate hands-on training in plumbing tasks. Her revered standing within the local community speaks volumes about her impact. A strong advocate for both physical and mental health and safety, Kirsty instils a culture of well-being within her team. Recognising the nuances of customer interactions, she ensures her team is attuned to each situation, employing appropriate behaviour.
Kirsty's sterling references and impressive technical acumen made a lasting impression on the judging panel. From the outset, her dedication to remaining at the forefront of the industry and uplifting her team to their fullest potential was evident.
“I just want to represent the women in the trade and to push the comfort zone in our trade a little. I want to have a voice in our industry to bring about change. To my fellow women who are just starting their career, be patient and kind to yourself. Let yourself fail at things without beating yourself up and thinking you want to quit. Having perseverance is a must as is a good support group. Don't be afraid to ask questions, that's how you will learn faster. People are always worried to ask because they will look silly. If you can put that fear aside, you will learn so much more. And most importantly, stay true to why you are becoming a plumber. If you love this trade and have a heart for it, you will always succeed,” said Kirsty.
Lucinda Giles with award presenter Emily Harrison, insurance advisor from Austbrokers Comsure
Lucinda Giles - James Giles Plumbing Pty Ltd
Austbrokers Comsure Andrea Vogler Women in Business Award
Lucinda Giles has had a multifaceted journey into the plumbing and gas industry. She has mastered the art of balancing a myriad of responsibilities—ranging from family commitments, contributing administrative support to a plumbing business, and achieving a university degree, to becoming a registered nurse, and eventually overseeing nursing teams at major healthcare facilities.
Lucinda's remarkable work ethic and insatiable thirst for learning propelled her into a leadership role within James Giles Plumbing in regional Queensland back in 2015. There, she undertook the formidable challenge of managing the financial intricacies of this thriving family enterprise. Presently, fully committed to her responsibilities with JGP and raising her young family, Lucinda champions a team environment steeped in nurturing, kindness, and unwavering support. Her ardour for customer service is matched by her commitment to refining and maintaining the most efficient systems and processes.
Pioneering impactful business initiatives, including expanding the admin team from 3 to 7 members and implementing a comprehensive company-wide intranet and upgraded inventory system, Lucinda's focus centres on compliance with regulations and surpassing the company's aspirations. As an advocate for women in the industry, she also espouses the importance of self-compassion and empathy while charting one's individual path.
“Stepping into the many roles I have in life has created a way for me to embody my nurturing nature and has motivated me to care for others with empathy and compassion. I enter the end of 2023 with the Women in Business award, heavily pregnant, finalising my handover to our admin, ops, and trade teams, and moving towards resting into the beautiful experience of myself becoming a mother for the third time. I look forward to embracing the feminine experience of creating another life that teaches me so many lessons and transferable skills in how to nurture our company,” said Lucinda.
Nicole Vermaak (right) with award presenter Amy Murphy, field marketing manager from Simpro (left)
Nicole Vermaak - Ryano's Plumbing and Gas Fitting Pty Ltd
Simpro Women in Plumbing and Gas Award
Nicole Vermaak, a dedicated tradesperson at Ryano’s Plumbing and Gas Fitting in Brisbane, stands out for her unbridled passion for her work and the industry. Her adaptability in the face of change has furnished her with the crucial attributes to emerge as a trailblazer in the plumbing and gas sector. Drawing wisdom and insight from her mentors, Nicole not only imbibes their knowledge but also imparts it to the apprentices under her guidance, establishing a legacy of leadership. Over the past 7 years, she has meticulously crafted a robust career.
During her apprenticeship, Nicole garnered recognition from diverse industry bodies, a testament to her exceptional achievements and contributions. Her involvement as an International Women's Day ambassador and grant recipient further exemplifies her commitment to progress. Post-apprenticeship, Nicole has been privileged to contribute to an array of projects, spanning plumbing, civil, drainage, fire, and gas fitting.
Nicole candidly acknowledges that as a female tradesperson in a predominantly male domain, scepticism about her expertise remains a constant. However, this scepticism has transformed from a source of apprehension into a driving force that empowers her to dispel doubts.
“Being a female tradesperson in a predominantly male industry, there has and always will be some form of scepticism on my knowledge and abilities at work. But as I progressed further into the trade, this has gone from me being nervous to being motivated to quash any doubts that anyone may have had. Challenges only make us stronger mentally and physically and it’s another reason why I love my job and why I believe I am doing very well with it. If I had any advice to give to anyone only starting now, I would say that you don’t have to crush all your goals on your first day. Just be a sponge – be present and soak it all up. Make sure you understand what you are walking on and be prepared to work hard. You can do anything you want if you set your mind to it,” said Nicole.