Marlie Packer

Marlie’s route to plumbing

There are many ways into the world of plumbing and like many Marlie chose an apprenticeship. Read about how Marlie made a career out of her passion for plumbing. 

After school I went straight on to college and given my natural interest in rugby decided to take up two years of sports courses. During my summer breaks I was after a job so started labouring for bricklayers. Whilst on the site I took a slight interest in plumbing but didn’t really get into it too much and just left it there so I was a bit stuck of where to go next.

I always knew I wanted to play sports but wasn’t ready to coach it. My manager at the RFU at the time, Tom Stokes, put me in touch with a rugby advisor; Zoe Eaton, who funnily enough is now the manager of our 7s team.

We sat down and she ran me through what options were available alongside rugby but outside of the coaching side of things. I told her about my history in labour and interest in plumbing and she suggested the idea of taking up an apprenticeship.

I think after my initial meeting with Zoe when we spoke about options I was pretty much decided. Thinking back to my original interest in the field, it felt like a natural move. I began a plumbing apprenticeship in 2008. It was the same year I got called up to England for my first cap. I spoke to the coaches and asked because I wanted to focus on my plumbing if it was okay for me to stay at U20s level. I’m not too sure how this went down as I didn’t end up getting my next cap for another 3 years, but hey, I still played at U20s for England A level.

From here my mom managed to get a job for me with a friend of hers whilst I was taking my apprenticeship. I passed my apprenticeship after working with her friend for a year and half; most of his work was with gas fires and wasn’t enough to qualify me to become a plumber. Wanting to take it to the next level, I changed jobs to work with DR Jones of Yeovil where I stayed for 3 years. I became qualified as a Level 3 Gas engineer, and when the time came for me to move to London, I joined the team here at HomeServe.

But the apprenticeship; it was tough, working for long hours and being on little money. I had a part time job at the same time during the evenings which was waitressing. Juggling the apprenticeship, rugby and work was tough.

The thing about becoming a plumber or engineer is that there are so many different avenues you can go down. It’s not just one set thing. It’s also a field that is growing with the times, you can now even become an engineer for solar panels or rain water systems so it’s a job that will definitely be sticking around for a long time! If you’ve got the drive and are willing to put into it, you’ll definitely get a lot out of it.

If you're thinking of getting into plumbing then go for it! People will always need a plumber and it's a trade that there will always be work in.