Awards galore, and Stotfold plumbing firm is determined to break manly mould because women have a key role in their winning

JTM Plumbing and Heating Services' office manager Michelle McDade and finance manager Jackie Dilley

JTM Plumbing and Heating Services' office manager Michelle McDade and finance manager Jackie Dilley with co-directors Lynn and Garry Vallance. - Credit: Archant

The couple behind an award-winning business are on the lookout for new apprentices – and hope they can break the mould when it comes to employing women in their male-dominated field.

Lynn and Gary Vallance’s JTM Plumbing & Heating Services has plenty to shout about – winning three awards in the last month, as well as being crowned the ‘overall winner’ as the judges’ choice at the FSB Beds Business Awards earlier this year.

Among the accolades for the Stotfold-based company – whose roots go back 10 years when Gary worked as a sole trader – saw Lynn declared the ‘best tradeswoman’ at the first Best Business Women Awards.

Results from an Office of National Statistics show that only 10 per cent of skilled tradespeople are women, while a TUC study highlights that skilled trade apprenticeships had a female uptake of as low as two per cent – despite an even split among both genders in apprenticeships as a whole.

That got co-directors Lynn and Gary thinking, with the family firm looking to employ up to three new apprentices to add to the two already in place – whatever their age or gender.

“I was saddened to learn how few ladies enter the industry, as our business has shown how receptive the public is to ladies in the plumbing and heating industry,” said 45-year-old Lynn.

“We are starting to look for new apprentices and would love to welcome a female to our engineering team.

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“I am sure there are many women out there that may be put off pursuing a career in heating and plumbing in fear of not be welcomed by men in the industry.

“I can certainly say that is not the case and all the men I work with or have trained with have been delightful and highly supportive.”

Gary, 49, who said the apprenticeships have had a hugely positive impact on the company, added: “As a family run business we certainly believe some of our success can be attributed to having Lynn and our other female members of the staff on board.

“We find that a large percentage of the calls we receive come from women and the fact they call up and hear another lady on the end of the phone instantly seems to put them at ease.”

To find out more about the opportunities on offer call 01462 834424 or visit

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