Trade Spotlight: Metal and Engineering
There are loads of Engineering Apprenticeships and Traineeships out there, and it can be difficult to tell what makes each unique.
You might find yourself wondering ‘What does a metal and engineering tradie actually do?’ or ‘How do I know which apprenticeship is right for me?’.
At MIGAS we like to think these trades are for the mechanically minded artists – keen to deliver a finished product with precise accuracy. Sort of like a craftsperson.
A career pathway in the metal and engineering trade offers a wide range of specialised opportunities that are hands-on, tough and often a bit greasy. Above all this trade requires determination and grit to deliver highly accurate work in varied and often extreme working environments.
Engineering specialisations are grouped into three main areas: Fabrication Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering. These areas often overlap with Electrical Trades and Mechanical Trades with some offering dual trades opportunities. What’s a dual trade you ask? It’s when you can learn two trades at once, doubling your career opportunities and demand.
Some examples of the types of trade certificates you might complete with an engineering outcome include:
- Certificate III in Engineering – Fabrication Trade (Boilermaker)
- Certificate III in Engineering – Fabrication Trade (Sheet Metal)
- Certificate III in Engineering – Mechanical Trade (Fitting and Machining)
- Certificate III in Electrotechnology (Electrical Fitter)
These are just a few. There are many more specialised metal and engineering trade certificates that you can undertake as an Apprentice or Trainee depending on the industry you work within and the materials you work with. It’s more often than not highly specialised work that is currently in demand across the globe.
Boilermaking is a metal fabrication trade often considered the modern-day equivalent of the blacksmith. As a Boilermaker Apprentice, you will find yourself working in a variety of environments depending on your specialisation and your employer. Boilermakers often have the opportunity to specialise as either a Boilermaker Welder or Boilermaker Marker Off, each focusing on a specific stage of the metal fabrication process. This allows you the opportunity to work with some exciting metals across a broad cross-section of industrial, mining and manufacturing industries and makes this one of the hottest apprenticeships currently available.
Casting and Moulding Apprenticeships
Patternmakers, Foundrymen, Moulders and Core-makers are a few of the specialisation outcomes of the casting and moulding fabrication trade. These professionals work with a number of materials to create moulds or casts for manufacturing anything from wheels to bulldozer blades. Moulders and Casters are often employed within the mining, quarry and forestry industries making moulds for the structural frames of large machines and equipment.
Fitter and Turner Apprenticeships
Fitters and Turners manufacture, fit and assemble parts and components for a variety of machinery, working with a range of materials including plastics and metals. Specialising as Fitter and Turner can take you places. Depending on your employer you might find yourself equipped to work as a Diesel Fitter Mechanic, Fitter Machinist, Maintenance Fitter, Services Fitter, Fitter Welder, Sewing Machine Mechanic or Bench Fitter.
Sheet Metal Apprenticeships
Sheet metal workers mark out, cut, shape and join ‘sheets of metal’ (hence the name) using hand and power tools, or assemble and install sheet metal products like those used in fitting out large commercial buildings with ducted temperature control systems. There are typically two streams of specialisation for Sheet Metal apprentices to consider: First Class, who can go on to qualify as sheet metal pattern makers; and Second Class, who specialise in the operation of certain sheet metal working machinery.