The first MBE for a woman plumber goes to Hattie Hasan, founder of Stopcocks Women Plumbers for her work to increase the numbers of women in the heating and plumbing industry.
Recognised in the New Year’s Honours list for her services to women in the heating and plumbing industry, Hattie was surprised and ‘chuffed’ to be awarded an MBE. She intends to use it to help her extend and increase the speed of her work growing the numbers and visibility of women in the plumbing and heating industry.
When Hattie Hasan gave up teaching and trained as a plumber she did so in the interest of her personal freedom and happiness, she had no idea where the journey would take her. 16 years later when she stood in front of 250 entrepreneurs and vowed to ‘create an army of women plumbers’ she had no idea how difficult that would be. Along the way she made mistakes and shed tears but nothing made her stop. She’s an extraordinary woman with a huge vision and massive resilience, but she never imagined she’d receive the recognition of an MBE, which came as a complete surprise.
The numbers of women plumbers are unknown, no one has ever counted them and as Hattie says ‘If we’re not counted we don’t count, but we can’t count if we’re not counted!’ The only numbers come from the census, and therefore are always out of date. It’s estimated that 1% of all plumbers are women and that of the 100,000 heating engineers registered with Gas Safe just 500 are women.
The plumbing and heating industry is headed for a crisis very soon with the average age of plumbers 57-58 and only 5.9% under the age of 35. If you think it’s difficult to find a plumber now, things are going to get a lot worse in three years!
This country needs more men and women to become plumbers, and soon.
Hattie believes that the large numbers of women interested in joining the skilled trades could be the answer to the skills gap we’re racing towards.
It’s her work bringing women plumbers together, promoting and mentoring them and helping them in their careers by supporting them to become self-employed that has earned her the national recognition of becoming the first woman plumber to receive an MBE.
She and her company Stopcocks Women Plumbers have enabled countless numbers of women and girls to realise they can join plumbing and other skilled trades, to train and qualify and to delight householders with their high standards of customer service.
This is a great influence on the roles girls feel they can successfully fulfil in their lives, and by extension, increase men’s options too.
Hattie’s mission is to grow the numbers of women plumbers and heating engineers, giving householders more choice.
It’s Hattie’s hope that receiving an MBE will enable her to start making those outside of the industry more aware of the benefits of increasing the numbers of women in it, and how women can make themselves excellent, satisfying careers, becoming the role models needed to kick-start a transformation of the industry.
Water is life and we need plumbers to bring it into our homes, clean and safe for drinking, to heat it so we’re warm and for all our daily washing.
Hattie Hasan MBE wants all the women who want to become plumbers, to join the industry and enjoy careers as fulfilling as hers..