Love for water motivated her to qualify as a plumber

2012-05-01 00:00

IT looks easy but it isn’t, says newly qualified plumber Elizabeth Balzer (24) from Cleland in Pietermaritzburg.

While many young women her age may favour an office job, Balzer said computers and working nine to five are not her style.

“Give me an office job and you kill me. It wouldn’t have worked for me.”

She said her love for plumbing stems from her love of water.

She knew that she wanted to pursue this career since Grade 8.

“I woke up one day and that’s what I wanted to do.”

The young woman has just finished six years of studying and honing her skills through a Development Bank of South Africa learnership.

“When I was young I was always tearing things apart but could never put them back,” she laughed.

While female plumbers are not common, there are a few out there already. She said there were only two women in her learnership out of 16 candidates.

She finished her trade test in Port Elizabeth where she scored 100% at the Eastern Cape Training College.

She had to cut, measure and thread a geyser, sewage drainage, shower and PVC gutters.

“I’m a hands-on person,” she laughed.

Balzer’s father is an electrician and her mother is in finance.

She said during her years of studying and being an apprentice she has worked on different projects including the Greater Edendale Mall project.

Balzer’s thrill comes when she sees a building taking shape on bare land.

“It’s so interesting when things come together. It’s cool.”

But she is now looking to get a job.

She told The Witness that the fact that she’s a woman in a male dominated industry doesn’t faze her.

“It’s no longer about the gender, but whether you can do the job or not and I believe that I’m good at what I do,” she smiled.

Her lawn bowls coach, Jill de Beer said she watched Balzer grow to become what she always dreamed of becoming.

“She deserves to go far,” De Beer added.

She said Balzer is the most helpful youngster she knows — she has fixed her toilets and taps, she said.

“I don’t regret being a plumber. I’ve always wanted this since I was a junior in high school,” Balzer added.

This Pietermaritzburg plumber said she dreams of owning her own company one day.

• gabisile.ngcobo@witness.co.za

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