catherine wingate

"The best thing is the experience – it's a once in a lifetime chance."

"I started work for Wingate Electrical Plc in March 2009 as an apprentice plumber on the Olympic site. I'm the only woman plumber in Wingate's on this site.

I've done a variety of jobs so far: plumbing a sink, scaffolding for pipework, fusing 180mm diameter pipes, unblocking toilets, cutting into live pipes and fitting extra piping. I'm enjoying it. It's all pretty new but I'm getting used to it. The best thing is the experience – it's a once in a lifetime chance. It's great to get it on my CV, that I worked at the Olympic site.

I've been working on site three days a week and studying at CONEL two days a week. My qualification is the City and Guilds 6129 Plumbing Certificate and NVQ Level 2, which I will finish next year and I'm on track to pass. Then I want to go on to Level 3.

My plans are to see the finished project here, gain as much experience as I can when I'm young, do domestic work too and get experience in that. I'd like to do an electrical course so I can do both plumbing and electrical – my uncle is an electrician. Then I want to run my own business.

My message to other young people would be: If you really want to do something, put your mind to it. Don't be put off by what other people say. Be prepared to be unique, don't follow the crowd."

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