Plumber, Maintenance Department
Kerry Webb became L&Q’s first female plumber and is proud to be part of a maintenance team that is helping residents each and every day.
Kerry Webb doesn’t bat an eyelid when residents tell her they weren’t expecting a woman to turn up to fix their plumbing. At 28, and with plenty of experience under her belt, she’s heard it all before.
“There are more women choosing plumbing as a career these days,” says Kerry. ”I have seen some all-female plumbing companies out there – often with fun names like Pink Plumbing and Stopcocks.”
When she was younger, Kerry loved fixing bikes and helping her Dad out at home. She was thinking about studying carpentry, electrics or plumbing.
“I wanted to follow in my Dad’s footsteps as a lift engineer but he was worried that it is too dangerous,” she says. “He always said there was a shortage of plumbers – but nobody told me how many toilets I would have to unblock!”
Kerry was lucky to get a four-year apprenticeship at Greenwich council and gained her qualifications at the same time.
“I started on a low wage,” says Kerry, “but it went up every year and Greenwich paid for my course.”
Unfortunately, the council didn’t have a job for her when the apprenticeship ended. She did get a job with a private gas and plumbing company. Seven years later, she felt the time had come to move on – and joined L&Q.
“I spent a week on an induction, learning about health and safety and then I was out on my own,” Kerry says. “I get my jobs each day on my PDA, which is a very efficient way of doing things.”
Kerry is part of a team that responds to calls for help from residents in the boroughs of Bexley and Greenwich.
She enjoys meeting people as she goes about her work, especially the vulnerable and elderly customers. She has gained a lot of experience dealing with residents in emergency situations, such as flooded bathrooms or where water is pouring through a ceiling.
“I know how to calm residents down,” says Kerry. “I really like to find solutions to problems – especially if someone else has been before me and wasn’t able to fix it.”
Kerry hopes it won’t be long before she’s able to swap stories with another female plumber as L&Q’s direct maintenance service goes from strength to strength.