Metal fabrication engineer/boilermaker

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Jason, 20

Jason works for Athlegen, a small company based in regional Victoria that manufactures treatment tables that are used in hospitals, by massage therapists or physiotherapists. Find out more:

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Fact file

Job description: As a second year apprentice, Jason spends a lot of his time at work learning new skills and practicing his welding techniques on real products for real customers.

Subjects studied: English, Woodwork, Outdoor Education, History (Revolutions), Visual Communications

Further training: Second Year Apprentice (four years total)

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Profile

Like many young people, when Jason finished school he was not quite sure what he wanted to do for a career. He knew he liked working with his hands, but was unsure of what was available. After twelve months in the Army Reserves, he was unfortunately injured and had to take leave. This accident turned out to be one of the best things that happened to him as it led to a new career in an industry where he is sure he will always be able to find employment.

Because of Jason's woodworking skills, he was able to quickly find work at Athlegen in the woodworking department. While there, he was interested in what the metalworkers were doing and before he knew it, he had started a metal fabrication and boilermaking apprenticeship. And he loves it.

As a second year apprentice, Jason's main task is to weld together the components for the bases of treatment and massage tables. Under the supervision of the foreman and leading hand, he is always learning new skills and has plenty of opportunities to practice these skills.

Jason attends TAFE for one week each month and as he says: "you make lots of friends at TAFE. It's great because everyone is going through the same thing as you. You get to go away from work and do something different, there are lots of challenges and it's great the way you interact with the teachers ? not at all like school."

Although he still has two years to go on his apprenticeship, Jason loves knowing that he has a future. He admits that at this stage of his apprenticeship, there is not too much variety in his work, but he knows this will quickly change as he learns more skills.

When he has completed his apprenticeship, Jason would like to move into boat manufacturing, either making luxury cruisers in Cairns or speedboats in Melbourne. He would also like to continue on at night school and gain some advanced certificates. These will all help him reach his goal of owning his own business in ten years time.

In the meantime, however, Jason is happy to keep on learning, knowing that he has a full time job and a great future.

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Job specs

Fabrication engineering tradespersons cut, shape, join and finish metal to make, maintain or repair metal products and structures. They may produce moulds or patterns for metal castings, apply coatings and work with a variety of materials.

Duties

A fabrication engineering tradesperson may perform the following tasks:

  • Examine detailed drawings or specifications to find out job, material and equipment requirements
  • Cut, roll, shape, bend, mould, spin, heat or hammer metal products to fabricate parts or sub-assemblies
  • Heat treat metal parts and components
  • Set up and/or operate hand and machine tools, welding equipment or computer numerically controlled (CNC) machines
  • Assemble parts and structures by lining up and joining them by welding, bolting or riveting
  • Finish products by cleaning, polishing, filing or bathing them in acid solutions, or by applying protective or decorative coatings

Personal requirements

  • Enjoy technical activities
  • Interested in computer programmable machinery
  • Physically fit
  • Strength to handle materials, tools and machines
  • Good hand-eye coordination
  • Able to work in a team
  • Able to work independently
  • Patience
  • Accuracy
  • No skin or breathing allergies
  • Safety conscious

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Getting started

Find out more about a career in metal fabrication engineering:

Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union (VIC)
251 Queensberry Street, Carlton South, 3053
Tel: (03) 9230 5700
Email: amwuvic@amwu.org.au

Find out more about this career path at myfuture.edu.au (new window) (Note: free registration is required to access the myfuture site).

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