Nick is completing an apprenticeship as a fitter and turner that will open up a world of possibilities in a trade that has no limits.
Job description: Nick combines on the job learning with a day each week at TAFE to learn how to make parts and repair machinery such as pumps, motors and gearboxes.
Subjects studied: Apprenticeship and TAFE course taken.
Further training: Year 2 of a 4 year apprenticeship Fitter and Turner
When Nick did work experience with Air Liquide, a company that makes gas for hospitals and steelworks, two years ago, little did he know that his life was about to change. He fell in love with the industry and further work experience led to an apprenticeship and hooked him for life. In fact he was so keen, that he became the first apprentice under 18 that the company had taken on in 25 years!
He is now in the second year of his apprenticeship as a fitter and turner working for John Beever Australia, a contracting firm that makes parts and repairs machinery for the petrochemical, oil, gas and brewery industries. They also hire out some of their staff (such as Nick) to companies such as ACI, Bluescope Steel, Qenos and Visy - some of Australia's largest companies.
With so much going on, Nick says that his job is never boring. "There is always something different to do and learn. The only routine thing in my job is safety and standards," he says.
Nick has recently worked on a large project that involved a machine called a glass shaker. This machine is used in the recycling industry and first sorts the glass into colours, then crushes it for recycling. One of the problems with a machine like this, however, is that crushed glass is very abrasive so it wears out the metal parts of the machine very quickly. Nick had the opportunity to work with an engineer, from the company who make the machines in Austria and learnt a lot from his experience.
Nick also says he learns a lot from his teachers at TAFE. "I go to TAFE one day each week and learn theory and practical skills. Some of my teachers have over 20 years experience in the industry, so you learn a lot from them. It's very different to school - I really enjoy going there and learning," he says.
Although he is only halfway through his apprenticeship, Nick is already looking ahead to where he wants his career to lead him. "There are so many different avenues you can follow. You can do some other TAFE courses for extra certificates, such as hydraulics, mechanical electric work (things like robots) and pneumatics if you want to become a specialist. You can also do extra studies to become a qualified supervisor."
Whatever path Nick decides to follow, you can be sure he will continue to succeed in an industry that offers great prospects.
Mechanical engineering tradespersons carry out a range of mechanical work on machines, sub-assemblies and manufactured parts using a range of processes, tools and machines.
A mechanical engineering tradesperson may perform the following tasks:
- Examine detailed drawings or specifications to find out job, material and equipment requirements
- Set up and adjust metalworking machines and equipment
- Operate machines to produce parts or tools by turning, boring, milling, planing, shaping, slotting, grinding or drilling metal stock or components
- Fit and assemble metal parts, tools or sub-assemblies, including welding or brazing parts
- Cut, thread, bend and install hydraulic and pneumatic pipes and lines
- Dismantle faulty tools and assemblies and repair or replace defective parts
- Set up and/or operate hand and machine tools, welding equipment or computer numerically controlled (CNC) machines
- Check accuracy and quality of finished parts, tools or sub-assemblies.
- Enjoy technical work
- Physically fit
- Good hand-eye coordination
- Able to work as part of a team
- Able to work independently
- Practical ability
- Attention to detail
- Normal hearing
- No skin allergies
Find out more about a career as a fitter and turner:
Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union (VIC)
251 Queensberry Street, Carlton South, 3053
Tel: 1300 732 698
Find out more about this career path at myfuture.edu.au (Note: free registration is required to access the myfuture site).