Local Government Magazine
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Water Woman

Is Raewyn Philbey the only water service woman in the land? Nelson Environmental Management Company Nelmac says it doesn’t know of any others and is curious to find out.

Philbey − who has been with the company for 10 years and is a senior member of the Nelmac Water team − says she still gets the odd strange look from homeowners when she responds to callouts. The job can involve hard work, and long and unsociable hours. Call-outs in the early hours of the morning are just part of the role as is putting on wet weather gear and heading out when everyone else is heading in.

It’s not her only ‘first’. Philbey was previously employed as a petrochemical plant operator: one of the first two women in the role worldwide.

Philbey holds both the National Certificate in Water Reticulation and the National Certificate in Wastewater Reticulation, and well as qualifications in water sampling, traffic management, respirator work, and confined space work and rescue.

Would she recommend such a career to young women? “Yes,” is Philbey’s immediate response. “There shouldn’t be any barriers to more women entering the industry as long as they have the strength required and the right attitude.”

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