Armidale local Victoria Smith may be one of only two women plumbers in New England.
Men dominate the industry across Australia; government statistics reveal that less than one per cent of all plumbers are female.
Victoria is not perturbed by these figures. She is in the second year of her apprenticeship through TAFE NSW Tamworth, forging a career with well-respected local business Inglis Plumbing. One day, she hopes to become a project manager, or even have her own business.
"I think more females should get into plumbing, or any trade for that matter," she said. "Forget about stereotypes; it can be very rewarding."
"I really enjoy being a plumber," she said. "It's very hard to get bored in this industry, because there are so many things to work on and learn."
She enjoys seeing a job from start to finish. Plumbers are one of the first trades onto a work site, and one of the last to leave. In her apprenticeship, she has worked on internal and external drainage, rough-in, fit-off, and fit-out.
Plumbing is physically hard, Victoria said - but not too hard for women. External work calls for stamina and straining, but girls could do maintenance and inner homes in their sleep.
Victoria believes she is lucky to work with a great company like Inglis Plumbing - and her boss believes the 27-year-old has a bright future.
"I'm really proud of her," Greg Inglis said. "Being a female in the plumbing industry has its challenges, for sure, but Victoria copes well, and is more than capable of completing any task her male colleagues can."
"I found it difficult when I first started at Inglis Plumbing," Victoria acknowledged. "There were 20 or more males working here - I did feel a bit of pressure to fit in."
Sometimes she wonders if she would be listened to more were she a boy. "You can be shut off quite quickly; they don't really want to hear your opinion."
Most of the guys she works with, though, are lovely, she said, and she gets a good say most of the time.
"I worked really hard to earn my place on the team and the respect of my colleagues. Now they just want to help me learn as much as possible, and they treat me as part of the team."
Victoria first worked for Inglis Plumbing as a labourer. Her supervisor was impressed with her work on the bathrooms, and recommended that she be employed full-time.
Mr Inglis twice offered her an apprenticeship, which Victoria refused - at first. She wanted to be sure she enjoyed plumbing before committing to a long course. It takes four years to be a tradesman (or woman), five or six years to be fully licenced.
"I was freaking out about coming to TAFE NSW when I first started," Victoria said. "I hadn't studied since I was at school, but all the teachers are really helpful and nice. I've already learnt so much that has helped me do my job better."
TAFE NSW Plumbing teacher Martin Wray added: "Victoria is a very focused student, and one of the best students in her class. She completes all tasks with skill and determination, and has all the attributes to have a really successful career in plumbing."
The Australian Government predicts more than 29,000 new plumbing jobs across the country by 2023, and both Victoria and Mr Inglis would like to see more women pursue careers in this industry.
"Attitudes in plumbing are starting to change," Mr Inglis said. "It's been a male-dominated industry for too long. I wouldn't hesitate to hire another female if she was the right fit for our business."