Ian Kenny, marketing director for Graham The Plumbers’ Merchant, explains to Hattie Hassan, founder of Stopcocks Women Plumbers, why it chose to become Headline Sponsor at The Women Installers Together (WIT) event.
Why is Graham supporting Women Installers Together (WIT)?
WIT is a great initiative, a phenomenal gathering. Graham’s Merchant has been around 82 years, we are keen to continue to shape ourselves for the future. We’ve been running more focus groups for customers and apprentices. At Graham, we’ve got a lot of ideas we’d like to share with people, but they’re only good if they can help people do their jobs in the future.
Do you think the industry will benefit by having more women in it?
I think there’s a very simple answer. Some 52% of the population in this country are women, so with 99% of the people in the industry not being that gender, there’s a challenge.
I like to think about ‘Diversity’ very simply – as different ways of thinking and different perspectives. It broadens your horizons; it challenges many things you’ve done historically.
I understand you have two daughters, if one of them wanted to be a plumber, how would you feel about that?
I’d have natural parental fears, looking from the inside out, having worked in the industry for a decade, there are some great career opportunities and the ability to interact and meet different people and to be hands-on every day is phenomenal. The opportunity to be their own boss can’t be underestimated.
Is there anything you’d like to cover about what Graham is doing in the future?
I suppose the only thing I’d like to say is we can’t guess or assume anything. That’s why we run focus groups – we have to start with detailed discussions, not only for us, they’re really open-ended talks with people to understand what they need and what helps them in their job. I think there are a lot of things in common, we’ve done an awful lot of work around different types of customers already, we’ve never looked at it by gender till now.