Ex-call centre worker on course to become a plumber

Jill Cormack shows off her plumbing skills.
Jill Cormack shows off her plumbing skills.
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A FORMER call centre worker has tapped into a new career, thanks to an apprenticeship scheme.

Jill Cormack, 26, worked in a variety of administration and customer services roles before embarking on a four-year apprenticeship and a career in plumbing.

As part of the scheme, Jill is working towards a nationally recognised Level 2 plumbing qualification and is employed by West Boldon-based TW Plumbing and Heating.

Jill, from Boldon, said: “I’m a practical person and I’ve had a burning desire to be a plumber since the age of about 16. When I left school I ended up in a series of customer service roles and, although a call centre environment is suitable for some people, it wasn’t really the career for me.

“In my last job as a housing assistant, I worked on several property maintenance projects which reinvigorated my interest in a plumbing career. I decided that, at the age of 26, it wasn’t too late to retrain and do something that I really enjoy.” The apprenticeship at Gateshead College combines theory and practical activities, with Jill spending one day a week in class and four on the job.

She said: “The apprenticeship has given me a good grounding within the industry, as well as some really useful life skills that I can apply in and outside of the workplace. I’m the only female plumber at the company, but I feel comfortable working in a traditionally male-dominated environment.”

Jill hopes that TW Plumbing, which in 2012 was named as one of the North East’s best employers in the National Apprenticeship Awards and National Training Awards, will offer her a full-time position after she has completed her training.

Martin Whitehead, director at TW Plumbing and Heating, said: “Jill has made an excellent first impression. We need to fast-track more young talent into our industry to prevent a skills shortage when older skilled workers retire.”