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Plumbing initiative highlights skills shortage and potential for women in industry

College of Cape Town’s plumbing apprentices participated in a World Plumbing Day CSI initiative to refurbish the Holy Cross Children’s Home.

Shamiela Cloete, who is currently an apprentice plumber at the College of Cape Town, Thornton Campus, was the only female who formed part of a team that took part in the Corporate Social Investment (CSI) initiative to refurbish the Holy Cross Children’s Home in Parow Valley, Cape Town.

Shamiela worked alongside her fellow apprentice plumbing students and professional plumbers. The areas that needed attention in the Children’s Home were identified and groups were formed to focus on the different areas that were identified.

Shamiela Cloete fixing a leaking basin during the initiative.

The plumbing initiative included the replacement of sinks, taps, showers, cleaning pipes and maintenance in the main buildings. South Africa is faced with a shortage of skills, and plumbing is one of those much needed skills.

“Most people tend to think that plumbing is a male’s job. I am working so hard to change that mindset. Whatever a person desires to be, he/she can be. In my community (Bishop Lavis), we have a lot of dropouts and I want to be an inspiration to my community, make those dropouts and gangsters see that they can still change their lives. It is not about where a person comes from but it is about where a person is going. I love sharing my knowledge,” said Shamiela.

Plumbing is recognised as one of the scarce skills in South Africa. The Department of Higher Education and Training is developing a strategy to support the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery plan. Plumbing is one of the skills needed in infrastructure investment and delivery. The department has also made funds available to fund plumbing apprentices as a means of addressing the shortage of skills.


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