The plumbing industry has a problem. We don’t have enough apprentices entering our incredible trade. And yet, we have an abundance of work in the pipeline...
In the lead up to this year’s Plumbing and Fire Industry Awards (PIFA) in Melbourne, Daniel Carroll spoke with Thomas Dunn, winner of the Frank Maskell General Plumbing Award and Andrew Letten Gold Medal at the 2018 event.
DANIEL Can you tell me what you knew about PIFA prior to being nominated?
THOMAS I was completing my Apprenticeship at the time and I knew it was a great honour to be considered for the award.
DANIEL How were you nominated?
THOMAS My employer at the time, David McCarthy and his wife Catherine nominated me. I’d been working with them for a while and I learned a lot from both David and Catherine. When I was nominated I had a sense of pride in representing the business as well as my personal achievements.
DANIEL Describe the lead up to the awards?
THOMAS I was a bit nervous when I was asked to attend an interview for the award but the interview panel was great. It was great to talk to other people in the industry.
DANIEL Tell us about the awards night itself.
THOMAS The awards night was absolutely fantastic! I got the new suit on and invited my mum to come along with me. The nerves didn’t kick in until I was to do a brief speech for winning the Andrew Letten Gold Medal. You could have heard a pin drop in that hall, not a whisper! I haven’t seen any footage but I’ve been told it went OK.
DANIEL The Andrew Letten Gold Medal is the highest honour provided by the Master Plumbers and the highest industry award provided to apprentices. To be eligible for this medal you must first have won either the Mechanical Services Award, the Frank Maskell General Plumbing Award or the NA Smith Gas Award. What did that mean to you?
THOMAS I was absolutely stoked! I was over the moon to have won the Frank Maskell General Plumbing Award and to also hear my name called for the Andrew Letten Gold Medal was icing on the cake.
DANIEL Since winning the award, has your career changed?
THOMAS I definitely got a huge boost in confidence, along with my desire to continue learning and be the best I can be.
DANIEL What can you say to people thinking about nominating?
THOMAS Get your nominations in! It has been an unbelievable experience for me and I will be nominating my Apprentices in the future.