SUCCESS: Brielle Lentfer won a $1000 Rheem Apprentice Plumber Grant, bucking the plumbing industry's male-oriented stereotype.
SUCCESS: Brielle Lentfer won a $1000 Rheem Apprentice Plumber Grant, bucking the plumbing industry's male-oriented stereotype. Adam Hourigan

Apprentice plumber makes her mark

IT’S NOT everyday you see a female plumber turn up to your door to fix your kitchen sink.

First year apprentice at Coffs Harbour TAFE, Brielle Lentfer, is out to break the male-dominated stereotype often associated with the plumbing industry.

The 19-year-old is well on her way after winning an exclusive $1000 Rheem Apprentice Plumber Grant last month, that’s only awarded to 25 apprentices nationally.

Brielle plans to hold on to her newly acquired pennies and spend the money as she needs them.

“I don’t want to spend it all straight away, I’ll just hold onto it and use it when I need it on tools and things like that,” she said.

It hasn’t been an easy trade to break into with the aspiring plumber saying women face a lot of hardship in the industry.

“They sort of overlook the women or don’t think they’re capable of doing it or know anything about it and the physical attributes about it as well,” she said.

One of Brielle’s career goals is to travel to India and help provide clean drinking water to rural villages.

“Down the track, when I have a bit more money behind me I’d love to go overseas, preferably India, to see what it’s like and volunteer over there,” she said.

Brielle developed an appetite for a career as a trade after going on a few jobs with her father, an electrician, when she was younger.

“I saw a bit of his trade and he always joked, you know how older men are a bit sexist towards women and they can’t do it as good as them,” she said.

Aside from wanting to prove her dad wrong, Brielle said she was attracted to the element of surprise plumbing brings.

“I love being outside, outdoors, you’re somewhere different everyday. It’s such a diverse trade and they’re the reasons I love it.”



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