We meet Madyzin Rogers and Jason Andrews, two young heavy fabrication apprentices at Rotorua trailer builder Mills-Tui.

As heavy fabrication apprentices, Madyzin and Jason both learn to work with metal in the construction of trailers. This includes measuring, cutting and folding various types of sheets of steel. They also weld them to form the various components that are assembled to make a trailer.

The apprenticeships consist of about 50% on-the-job work, and 50% bookwork. So you have to be dedicated and motivated to get through it all.

However, if you do, there’s a wide variety of jobs you could choose from – the whole world is hungry for tradesmen! Trailer building is quite a niche specialisation, so you should always be able to find a job. You could even land up running your own company!

Jason operates the hydraulic folding press. The easiest way to fold something as strong as steel!

How long are your apprenticeships and which training organisations are you doing it through?

M: We both do our apprenticeships through Competenz.

J: They should take three to four years to complete.

What’s the most fun part of your job?

M: Standing back and looking at the finished product, knowing I helped build it.

J: Pressing the material with the hydraulic press.

What’s the toughest part of your job?

M: Sitting down at the end of a long day to do the bookwork.

J: Yeah, I agree!

Madyzin grinds some welds which makes cool sparks!

Did you have to do any specific subjects at school for your apprenticeship?

M: I left school at 16 to join Mills-Tui. I wanted to work.

J: No, but I’d say the subjects I did at school have helped – I did maths, carpentry, engineering, science, that sort of stuff, which is all pretty relevant. Otherwise you might need the right tutors to teach you.

If you didn’t enter engineering, what would you have liked to do?

M: I always wanted to be a truck driver!

J: I tried building, bricklaying and sawmilling, but it was always engineering for me!