Glenn Menzies began his career in the plumbing industry in 1981. Specialising in mechanical services plumbing, he worked on large commercial projects including hospitals and prisons. Witnessing incidents on the job, such as trench collapses and injuries caused by manual handling, fostered his interest and passion for workplace health and safety and training.
“I have a deep concern and belief that when people go to work, they should come home safely.”
Glenn became an Organiser with the (Plumbing and Pipe Trades Employees Union) PTEU in 2004 and is currently the Secretary of the Geelong Branch of the PTEU and a National Councilor of the Communications Electrical and Plumbing Union (CEPU).
“We have come a long way in terms of occupational safety. We used to come home with chemicals spilled on our clothes, putting ourselves and our partners at risk. Plumbers are still among the most susceptible to asbestos exposure, often drilling where dangers can’t be easily seen. We have to remain vigilant and aim to continuously improve safety on every work site.”
Glenn’s passion for vocational education and trade training peaked when his son, now aged 25, became a third-generation plumber eight years ago. Aware of the changes within the industry and the education sector over three generations, Glenn wants to see more standardisation and consistency of training along with increased opportunities for continued training and professional development.
He enjoys being a ‘sounding board’ for young apprentices in his home town of Geelong, Victoria and often meets with apprentices at local football, cricket and other sporting clubs to share stories and mentor young people in various trades. He is proud to be a parochial Cats supporter and is Father to three young adults, including two daughters. Glenn is a strong supporter of programs aimed at increasing the participation of women and Indigenous Australians in the trades. In 2012, Glenn went to the United States to meet with members of the equivalent union to share ideas and study diversity programs.
“Improved technology and mechanics have made the pipes and plumbing industry less physically demanding, which is good for all workers but especially helps women enter the trade and reduces the risk of manual handling injury. Women in all of the trades have a lot to offer that we may be lacking in a male-dominated industry.”
He is particularly proud of the union’s diversity programs which include supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth to undertake trade training in Melbourne before returning to their own communities with qualifications and skills they can use to improve housing and amenities.
“We enjoy a high standard of water and sanitation that is sometimes taken for granted, but there is still a divide between our cities and our remote communities. We should value water, sanitation, and the sustainability of supply more highly.”
Glenn is the CEO of CEPUTEC, the training and education arm of the PTEU, Director of the Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre and a member of the Victorian Building Authority Plumbing Advisory Council. He is also a PTEU-UA Ambassador and has served as a Director of Fire Industry Training.