Nobody expected Paige Knowles to choose the trades as her career path. She fell in love with the industry after touring the construction wing of a tech school while she was in junior high.
Now a college student, “Plumber Paige” is a powerful advocate for young people, especially women, as well as a published children’s book author and a social-media influencer who touts the benefits of the trade industry.
She’s determined to dispel stereotypes.
“Parents don't think that their kids are going to be safe going into a blue-collared anything,” Knowles says. “…let them explore their options, and don't tell them that it's a bad idea before they even get to explore it.”
Along with changing parental preconceptions, she’s leading by example to get the industry’s old guard to accept the next generation of workers.
“Anybody within the construction industry wants to hire me because I have a skill set and a passion to want to learn more,” Knowles says.
Social media, she believes, is a great way to recruit other young people into the field.
“That's where you're going to reach the next generation,” Knowles says. “I've been putting a lot of energy into YouTube and Instagram, but TikTok is where it's at.”
Happily, Knowles has found growing support for women who do make the decision to come into the trades.
“You have to find your circle, your tribe, as I like to call it,” she says. “And I've definitely found them within my area, and they’re mentors for me. I love it.”
Knowles says people are often surprised when she shows up at a house for a plumbing job. Homeowners do pepper her with questions.
She’s more than happy to communicate with customers–while she’s working. The result: Customers’ curiosity about her is sated, while she shows them a young woman can get the job done.
Paige Knowles recently joined ServiceTitan’s Jackie Aubel on the “Toolbox for the Trades” podcast, which included Knowles’ thoughts on:
[7:47] The blue-collar narrative in today’s schools
[18:09] How contractors can connect with young people
[29:08] A forward-thinking construction camp for girls
[32:06] The benefits of mentorships
[37:40] Children’s books focused on the trades
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