Tammie, 26

As a Programming and Tool Scheduler, Tammie is part of the team who develop, manage and maintain the tool tracking system for the Toolroom at Ford. Find out more:

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Fact file

Job description: Tammie manages the whole process, from quoting and tracking orders through to arranging delivery and liaising with suppliers in Australia and around the world.

Subjects studied: English, Maths, Geography, Metalwork, Biology

Further training: 4 year apprenticeship, Fitter and Turner with a core field of toolmaking, Advanced Certificate in Engineering Traineeship

Salary: $60,000

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An Open Day at Alcoa raised Tammies interest in a trade, and a pilot program convinced her that she had found the job for her. Although she was originally interested in being a boilermaker, she realised that her build, and her interests, actually made her more suitable for a career as a fitter and turner. And she has never looked back.

Tammie started off on the shop floor in the Toolroom at Ford while she completed her apprenticeship and has since moved into the office, where she recently completed an 18 month traineeship. As part of her traineeship, Tammie has a mentor who is responsible for teaching her the ropes and opening up a whole new file in her career.

As a Program and Tool Scheduler, Tammie says that the work can be very intense, but is always exciting with something new almost every day. "We do everything from quoting of new programs to tracking the programs through each stage of build, to ordering and arranging delivery of castings from Adelaide. "I have a lot of contact with suppliers (which can be hard when I'm dealing with a company in Germany and there's a time difference as well as a language difference) as well as different departments within Ford. We also do some work for other car manufacturers and airlines, so it really keeps me on my toes trying to keep control of everything."

A typical day can see Tammie meeting with the Engineering Department to discuss any changes to the manufacturing and what these mean for the Toolroom, learning about new programs in the company, receiving information on new designs and entering this into the system and creating purchase orders for new tools. She also has to do some administration tasks, such as updating the tracking folders ? a huge task considering every program has five or six folders which contain every bit of information about that car from the part number to where it is located.

Tammie recently started supervising an area of ten people and is enjoying passing on her knowledge. She is also studying for her Associate Degree in Manufacturing and hopes to continue onto a Bachelor of Technology, so when she says there is never a dull moment in her job, you can be sure she means it. She also loves the people and the working environment at Ford. "You're not just a number," she says. "You are actually doing something. It's great to get something done and know that it has been done right. And with only four other girls in the area, I really enjoy beating the boys at their own game!"

In fact, Tammie thinks this is a great career and hopes that she can inspire other girls to look into fitting and turning.

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Job specs

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.

Personal requirements:

  • 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

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Getting started

Find out more about a career as a toolmaker:

Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union (VIC)
251 Queensberry Street, Carlton South, 3053
Tel: (03) 9230 5700

Australian Industry Group (VIC)
20 Queens Rd Melbourne, VIC 3000
Tel: (03) 9867 0111

Master Locksmiths Association of Australasia Ltd
Suite 213, 370 St Kilda Rd Melbourne, VIC 3004
Tel: (03) 9428 5222

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

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