Mechanical engineers build and maintain the machinery and tools that keep New Zealand’s manufacturing and engineering industries running.
National Certificate in Mechanical Engineering, General Engineering, Level 4
Engineering apprentice Andrew Aldridge has been competing on custom built race bikes for the past 14 years and has taken out every title New Zealand has to offer.
The secret is in shaving just enough weight off without compromising the structural integrity of the components. It helps that machining is Andrew’s passion because over the years he’s got the whole process down to a fine art.
When Andrew became involved in racing bikes his natural choice was a trade he could put to good use in his hobby. Now employed at his family’s hydraulics business in Christchurch, Andrew says machining is what he likes best. ‘I like starting with a blank billet and ending up with something flash. Seeing the finished product, you get a real sense of satisfaction.’
‘You’ve got engineers and you’ve got tradesmen. There are a lot of things an engineer can do but a tradesman just takes it to the next level,’ says Andrew. ‘A tradesman does the final touches – he’ll make it perfect.’
Andrew’s advice to those considering an apprenticeship is simple: ‘Make sure you want to do engineering, that you’ve got a passion for it. If you’re not too sure, do a pre-trade course where they’ll show you a whole variety of things so you can decide what line you want to take.’
Wise words from a man who knows he made the right choice himself.