SNIPEF Celebrates International Women’s Day

March 8, 2022

This international women’s day we hear from Margaret of Holyrood Plumbing and Heating who has been working in the Plumbing & Heating industry for the last five decades.


I am a plumber working in Edinburgh and for the last couple of years, I have mainly been doing gas and heating maintenance and repairs.

When I did regular installation work I used to enjoy improving people’s houses and creating something which was going to last for a long time. It was particularly satisfying to contribute to the conservation of old buildings by working out how modern services could be installed without spoiling their original design. 

With my present work, there is the challenge of problem-solving and the feeling that you are doing something really worthwhile keeping people safe, healthy, and comfortable.

I was lucky enough in the late 1970s to get a chance to join a building company in Leith, which was keen to train women in trades. I also worked in Yorkshire, where I gained my Craft Certificate, and in Birmingham.

Upon my return to Edinburgh, I worked with the other woman plumber from the Edinburgh company for a while in the early eighties, then in 1986, I did my Advanced at Esk Valley College.

I was employed as a plumber by Edinburgh Council for a few months, then had a break, returning to the trade in the mid-nineties at the time that gas registration with CORGI started, and gradually doing more gas and heating work. From 2004 to 2010 I trained four women apprentices, of which at least two are still in the trade today.

For too long women have had very few options in the kind of work where you can use practical skills and knowledge together, and get a trade that will last through life. Things are improving now and we have a chance to share in these opportunities and be more independent.

I would strongly encourage women to consider plumbing and electrics because with the changes in energy use on the horizon there are great career prospects. It’s great to see that the number of female apprentices has risen so much this year, thanks to the SNIPEF campaign. Don’t stop till we reach 50%!

“I would strongly encourage women to consider plumbing and electrics because with the changes in energy use on the horizon there are great career prospects.”
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