Jill Cicchello said ditching her desk job in her late 30s to become a plumber was one of the best decisions she ever made.

The Guelph resident worked in administration at an office for years, but has been a licensed plumber for four months.

“I find that what I love about it is it has really grown my confidence and self-empowerment. It’s hard work and it is hard on the body, but the rewards are worth everything that we go through,” said Cicchello.

Cicchello now works for Enercare Home Services and installed a new tub for a Kitchener client with the help of her apprentice Megan Lynd.

“She is very good at just giving me the opportunity to try something, screw up and then she’ll come and fix it and then I can learn from it,” said Lynd.

Lynd worked at a horse farm recently but said she wanted something more stable so decided, like Cicchello, to switch careers.

According to the organization Skills Ontario, the skilled trades industry lacks female representation. On average, fewer than five per cent of Canadians in those fields are women.

“The goal here at Skills Ontario is to be able to promote the skilled trades as viable career options to youth and we try to do that with our young women’s initiative program,” said Lindsay Chester, Young Women’s Initiatives Program Manager with Skills Ontario.

Chester said there is a high demand for more workers in the trades industry.

“It’s not that we would like to see women pursue the skilled trades, we need to have women pursue the skilled trades,” said Chester.

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Stephanie Costa is an entrepreneur from Guelph. She is also a supply teacher, but said she found herself decided to follow her passion and start her own business.

“I had never touched a power tool before I started with his business so that was definitely a challenge,” said Costa.

Skills Ontario is hoping more women get inspired to take on jobs in these types of fields.

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