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“I had done some mechanical work and was looking for an apprenticeship last year but realised it would be easier if I did this pre-training course first. 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 get two days a week of work experience. I’m currently getting experience in heavy fabrication which is the field I’m keen to work in.”
“The course is broader than I expected and covers machining and general mechanical engineering as well as fabrication and give us better chance of getting an apprenticeship. I’ve already lined one up with my existing work experience employer.”
“Longer term I think I’ll stay with heavy fabrication, and I’m applying it to site maintenance at my current job.”
“If you’re thinking of starting a career in Mechanical Engineering, come to NorthTec first because they teach all you...
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.”
“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.”