When Singleton local Brendan Eccleston embarked on a boilermaking apprenticeship, it ignited a fascination with welding that changed his life.
With Brendan’s father and uncle both boilermaking tradesmen, applying for a start in the same trade with MIGAS seemed the natural choice to kickstart his career. Yet the passion he developed for welding since joining the team at Hedweld Engineering in Mt Thorley as an apprentice took him by surprise.
“I already had an interest in working with metal through a few TAFE courses and the weekend work I did with my uncle in his fabrication shop. My apprenticeship along with additional projects I‘ve taken on have helped me realise welding is actually a form of art,” said Brendan.
The third year apprentice quickly progressed beyond welding minor sub-assemblies and products to working alongside leading tradesmen on major fabrication and assembly jobs for a range of innovative mining and safety equipment.
“I’ve done welding work on everything from access system ladders and stairs to six tonne maintenance tooling and machinery,” said Brendan.
For Brendan, the idea of tackling a hands on trade was always the most appealing career option.
“I’ve always been a tactical person and loved the idea of earning a wage while learning skills I can use for life. It is giving me the chance to get out there and put myself in the best possible position for a great future in the industry,” he said.
Brendan said the highlight of his apprenticeship was learning about Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding, an advanced form of welding where heat is generated through a form of electricity jumping from an electrode to the metal surface.
“It takes a lot of concentration and effort, but the finishes are flawless once you know what you are doing. It allows you to perform more exotic welding of aluminium, stainless steel and even titanium. The things you can make with it blow my mind,” said Brendan.
When looking towards the future, this tradie-to-be knows exactly where he’s headed.
“I’m going to get the specialised welding training I need under my belt to get into oil and fuel pipeline welding work. Then it’ll be just me working on a pipeline a few hundred meters long, in peace and quiet. That’s where I want to be.”