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Alec completed a three-day welding course at NorthTec and decided to continue his studies on with a Certificate in Mechanical Engineering.
“I’m motivated to finish this programme because it means I get a head start on an apprenticeship or employment.
“I like the diversity in what we are learning, it’s very safety-focused to make sure we all know what we are doing. It’s teaching me all the basic skills I need to operate safely and effectively in the workplace. The tutor is really supportive and there are some good guys in the class - we all get along.
“It’s not like school, it’s pretty chill and it’s a nice environment to learn in. My favourite part is learning about fabrication – getting to make stuff and see it as a finished product, it’s pretty rewarding.
“It’s pretty important that we get to spend time in the industry while we study. I spend two days a week working with Archwell Engineering, and three days at NorthTec. Through this I know what I’m aiming for and what I can get out of doing this course. It prepares you for life after course, it prepares you for employment – what you’re going to be doing in the real world.
“If you’re thinking of starting a career in Mechanical Engineering, come to NorthTec first because they teach all you need to know before you get into the workplace. The tutors are a great support and they can potentially help you find a job too.”
Everyone is so approachable here and we can ask anything we need to know. We each do our own thing but we all help...
“I chose to come here because of the diversity of what the course covers. I wasn’t interested in school and I knew this was where I could come to learn about what I’m interested in. My Dad has an engineering business so I grew up tinkering with mechanical stuff.”
“I thought I’d be keen on the fitting and turning part of the course but have found out I really like welding. Everyone is so approachable here and we can ask anything we need to know. We each do our own thing but we all help each other. ”
“The coolest surprise to me was that I had just enough money saved to be able to do the course, and then found out that because I’m under 18 it was free.”
“NorthTec sets you up for lots of good opportunities to go on and do more courses. It opens doors. After this I want to the Diploma in Mechanical Engineering then get an apprenticeship so I can become a fully qualified machinist or welder.”
“One day I’d like to follow Dad’s footsteps in his engineering business and maybe eventually take over the business.”
The best part of the course for me is the focus on machines. We learn machining, fabrication and welding, and...
“I loved making motorbikes at school in engineering, but apart from that school was not my thing. Dad was into metal and motors so I was always interested in what he was doing. My grandmother knew about this course because she works at NorthTec so I decided to give it a go.”
“The best part of the course for me is the focus on machines. We learn machining, fabrication and welding, and machinery overview, and we come out with a certificate in all three. In our apprenticeships we can either specialise in one area or continue in all three. I like to design and build things that involve machining parts, welding parts, and fabricating parts.”
“Because of what I’ve done before I’m finding this course a bit cruisy. I expected it to be harder. The paper work stretches me though so I get help from my Dad and the tutors for that. We have a great mix of students of all ages, backgrounds and experiences so we learn short cuts from each other as well as from the tutors.”
“I’m trying to get work experience now as part of the course but it’s a bit harder than I thought so I’ll just keep putting myself out there. From that, I want to get an apprenticeship to continue with all aspects of machining.”
“The ultimate for me is to build four wheel drives from a pile of parts.”
I’m loving having a play on the machines and the course is a lot more hands-on than I expected. I’m also surprised at...
“I wanted to go farming but my Dad suggested it would be better to get a trade first. He is in engineering and I always liked being in his workshop so I thought I’d give it a go. I’m only 16 so I’ve got time on my side.”
“I’m loving having a play on the machines and the course is a lot more hands-on than I expected. I thought we’d spend more time on computers. I’m also surprised at how good I am on the lathe. Getting the measurements sorted is a bit of a challenge for me but I get support with that here.”
“Now that I’m into it, when I finish the course I want to get an apprenticeship in mechanical engineering working with lathes and milling machines.”
“Eventually I’m keen to take over Dad’s workshop. He does general engineering but specialises in polish and chroming for superyachts - like making handles and rails.”
"The stand-out of the course for me is that all the content is relevant to what I want to do and the tutors help us...
I’d always been interested in mechanical things and used to love watching my Dad fix the car, but working at Marsden...
“I did a Sport and Recreation Degree and had been working as a personal trainer for four years but I was ready for a change. My Mum was working at Marsden Point Refinery so I got a job there isolating pipelines, tensioning bolts, and doing some Quality Assurance Control during the shutdown.”
“I’d always been interested in mechanical things and used to love watching my Dad fix the car, but working at Marsden Point made me realize that it was something I really wanted to take further. I looked through lots of training options and settled on this.”
“I love learning, especially the welding and how to use machines like lathes correctly. It was challenging because I finished school years ago and a lot of my classmates are school leavers familiar with machines that I’d never seen before.”
“If you’re stuck or need help the tutor is there for you and is really encouraging and we have a great team of students. If someone is behind everyone helps them get up to speed.”
“When I finish I’m hoping to get an apprenticeship with an engineering firm through one of my personal training clients. I’m also really enjoying welding and if I decide to go into fabrication I may do the next level of that here. I have a very supportive Mum and Dad who are making this study possible.”
“My longer term goals will unfold as I explore more of the industry, but I have friends who work in oil refineries and travel the world – which really appeals to me.”
Iwi - Ngapuhi
“Everything is a challenge here because I haven’t studied for years but the tutors help me to wrap my head around it...
About a month into the course the tutor said there was an apprenticeship coming up at what was then Brian Craig...
“I was signed up to do an engineering degree at Auckland uni but then decided I didn’t want to do four more years of study straight from school. So I took a gap year and did the mechanical engineering six-month NorthTec course instead. It gave me a chance to learn how to use each of the machines and in the process I found I love machining.”
“About a month into the course the tutor said there was an apprenticeship coming up at what was then Brian Craig Engineering, which specialised in machining rather than fabrication, so I grabbed the opportunity to do work experience there each Wednesday while I was studying. After a three-month trial they took me on as an apprentice.”
Eden is now in her second year of the apprenticeship. “In the course I learned everything I needed to go into the apprenticeship. My Dad had a good engineering workshop so I knew the basics but I love the focus on machining here. I especially enjoy the challenge of the maths involved in the Computer Numerical Control (CNC) process. I do the same work as the rest of the engineers here and I have a full-time supervisor to answer any questions I have.”
“The instructors and staff at NorthTec have been very helpful by recently fitting me into their fabrication block courses here in Whangarei for my machining standards, and saving me my previous big commute down to MIT, which is otherwise the closest tech offering my course.”
Since Eden began her apprenticeship, the business has been sold to Logan Garden, a previous employee there who maintained all the existing employment contracts. Eden says that in the time she has been working, she has gained a lot more confidence both in her work and as a person. “My skill set has increased and I make fewer mistakes but I still have too many entries in the first aid book!”
"My biggest challenge is finding the motivation to get up in the morning to commute from Kaiwaka and start work at 7am, but I’m keen to complete my apprenticeship and then continue to work here at BCE precision to get more experience."
Longer term, Eden says she would like to have her own workshop doing more home or personal projects for customers. “I love doing the precision work here, but because most of our work is for industry, there isn’t much face to face contact with the customers.”