BENDIGO apprentice plumber Jacobie Welsh is encouraging other women to enter male-dominated trades.
The 27-year-old spent nine years working in the animal industry before deciding to change careers.
Ms Welsh started with a pre-apprenticeship in plumbing at Bendigo TAFE in 2019, before moving into her full apprenticeship this year.
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"I was a little bit worried about how I would be taken by guys," Ms Welsh said. "But most of my friends are males, I get along with them a lot more, and I have a bit of a thick skin.
"It was more about getting babied. I didn't want them to go, oh she can't do it. I can do it, just be patient with me. That was the only concern I had.
"But coming in here, everyone has been super supportive. No one has made me feel like I can't do it because I'm a girl. If anything, they are more encouraging for you."
Ms Welsh is currently one of only two women in her course. Her teacher Grant Wee-Hee said it would be great to see more women take on plumbing apprenticeships.
"It's a trade that's very male-dominated but we find that the females that come through, they generally have something to prove - as in, I can do something that a male can do.
"We generally find they are more diligent, they get their work done a lot quicker, and the handwriting is definitely neater."
Ms Welsh, who also had a seven-year-old son, encouraged other women to consider a trade at Bendigo TAFE.
"I encourage all of my female friends," she said. "They want to try and see that it's not that scary. If I can do it, anyone can do it."
Ms Welsh said the teachers at the institution - including Mr Wee-Hee - were excellent, especially in 2020.
"I appreciate everything they have done - all of the support and encouragement," she said.
"They didn't let it get on top of them. They didn't bring it into the classroom that they might have been stressed about what they had to do.
"They were very professional about it all which was reassuring for us students."
Mr Wee-Hee said it was nice for teachers to be recognised for their hard work, especially on October 30 or World Teachers Day.
"We're the silent achievers," he said. "We don't blow our own trumpets around here. It's the same as all of the teachers - we just go along and do our jobs.
"If we get recognition for it, that's fine. If we don't, it's just another day."
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