We interviewed Jai while he was doing work placement at an Engineering firm dealing with maritime components. He became interested in machine fitting and fabrication through his older brother who is working at a naval contracting firm in Henderson.
“Yeah, my brother pretty much got me interested in the welding thing- sparked the interest, if you’d like” he says with a smile, “I hope to get an apprenticeship with Ikad Engineering, or maybe sign up for the navy.”
Jai is one of the few VET students doing a pre-apprenticeship with a two-day per week TAFE commitment. When asked about the challenges of the course, he says, “maybe it’s getting up early to go for work placement- I have to be at work at 6.30 and we knock off at 3.30, but you get used to it…you also do need to have a lot of common sense when learning and operating machinery.”
When asked about what he likes about the course, he gives me a tour of the warehouse, showing me the different drills, grinders and other machinery that he’s been “lucky enough” to use.
“We learn how to use different machines at TAFE, but to actually use these different tools and machines and to see what they can do- it’s amazing to be part of constructing these huge pieces of machinery that in turn become part of an even bigger whole; hanging out with the other workers isn’t too bad, either- we look after each other.”
When asked about juggling school work and his two-day VET commitment, Jai was forthright in saying that it was initially a challenge as he had to improve his time management skills.
“I do have some study periods, but at the end of the day, you just need to learn to fit all it in.”
By the looks of things, Jai appears to have found a good fit.