Manufacturing, engineering and technology companies in the Hunter are undergoing sustained growth, meaning unprecedented opportunities for employment and career opportunities for apprentices across the region.
“The industry cannot recruit enough talented young people to fuel business expansion and replace retiring skilled employees,” says Neil Cann, Managing Director of Longwall Haul at Redhead, .
“I have been a consistent employer of apprentices over many years. This year I have 8 employed and I never cease to be amazed at the talents and enthusiasm of them. They are definitely powering my business to an even brighter future.”
Ai Group Regional Manager, Adrian Price, interviewed 3 of Neil’s apprentice Heavy Vehicle Plant Mechanics.
“I echo Neil’s observations”, he said. “The talents and enthusiasm of our region’s young people are an inspiration. They will certainly ensure our industry has the agility and smarts to respond to changing customer demands, new technology and to help to shape new products and services.”
Cody Shiner, aged 20, is a 3rd year apprentice. Through his school, he undertook a Certificate II Automotive Vocational Preparation (pre-apprenticeship course) at Caterpillar dealer Westrac, opening his eyes to the heavy vehicle industry.
“I always wanted to get into mechanical engineering at uni, but my brother who works in the mines, suggested I might be better off doing an apprenticeship. I can always upgrade my trade certificate to an Advanced Diploma and then obtain a degree if I still want to” he said.
“I never stop learning. Every day there is a new problem to solve My apprenticeship is like a 4 year job interview. You have to constantly stimulate your brain. Look after it just like a muscle.” Cody advises.
Taylor Ball, 21, a third year apprentice, was interviewed at the Heavy Plant Mechanic workshop at Kurri Kurri campus of TAFE NSW. She and her colleagues attend a week release every four to five weeks. “Being a new building, the facility is a very agreeable place to learn and study. Teachers are really knowledgeable and are good instructors,” Taylor said.
Taylor engaged in work experience at machinery company Tefol while at school. “I really enjoy the hands-on style of work in this industry,” she explained. Taylor has been readily accepted by her colleagues at Longwall Haul and finds them a great bunch of people to work with. She has a specific interest in safety management and intends to further her studies in that field after she completes her TAFE certificate this year.
Matt Wilson, 18, is just two weeks on the job. Since he was 5 years old, he has been tinkering with motor bikes with his dad. “I always wanted to ride and repair motor bikes”, says Matt. He studied the iSTEM course in years 9 and 10 and built a motor bike as his project. At school, he did work experience in construction, plumbing and electrical but settled on heavy plant mechanic because, among other things, “the money is better.”
“I have been accepted as one of the team by my work colleagues from day 1. It is a huge learning environment here and I doubt I will ever be bored in my chosen career. On day 3, I was helping to remove a large transmission from a mine tractor. I really like getting my hands on machinery.”
Ai Group will be arranging company visits after hours in Rutherford and Newcastle in the coming months. See the workplaces, meet the owners, tradespeople and apprentices. To register your interest email firstname.lastname@example.org