Cold-calling employer pays off for keen young engineer

When Machining Apprentice Kyle Prince decided he wanted to work for award-winning Hamilton engineering business Longveld, he took the plunge and sent them his CV out of the blue.

They weren’t advertising for a new apprentice or anything but I had done my research and I was just like “I’ll just give it a shot,” and sent in my CV. Then within the day they sent me an email wanting to meet and, yeah, that was pretty much how I got it!”

Now Kyle’s going into the third year of his apprenticeship, loving life, and working to be the best tradie he can be.

We caught up with Kyle to find out more about his career journey to date, and mahi alongside Longveld’s team of courageous people creating remarkable things…

Kyle Prince

Machining Apprentice

Top Career Tip

“It’s all about being consistent and doing what you love and doing even what you don’t love to make yourself better.”

A Chat with Kyle about his role

Kyle Prince

Former Hillcrest High School student

What is your role?

I am a Machining Apprentice. I work a couple of machines that are pretty challenging to work. That’s what I was initially trained to do. When I started my apprenticeship I spent a lot of time on those machines learning from the person doing it before me. After that I trained someone and then they moved me to start doing more of the fabrication side, so more welding. I’m currently in my third year and have my last block course coming up. At the moment I’m just doing whatever I can to the best that I can in order to reach my ultimate goal which is to become a qualified tradesman and a good tradesman. I want to try to be the best at what I am doing. This is quite a big goal since there’s a whole world full of people but I don’t understand why people would settle for less. If you’re gonna be anything you’ll want to do it the best or try and do it the best.

What got you interested in Engineering?

I’ve been pretty hands on and practical my whole life. Like I’d take apart things and put them back together. I used to go into the bush and build little houses out of sticks. I went to an all academic school in South Africa and they don’t do any engineering subjects just maths and all the academic subjects. I was pretty much set up to become a farmer. Then my parents told me we were going to move to New Zealand, and I had to choose my subjects at school. A friend was going to Hillcrest too and he was doing this engineering course that sounded pretty cool to me because they built a push cart the year before. Then they told me they were building a motorbike and I LOVE motorbikes. So I was like, “that sounds awesome.” Once I got started on building this motorbike I just sort of fell in love with it. I used to stay after school to 6pm building my school project and just having fun with it, learning. Ever since then I knew I wanted to go into the engineering sector.

How did you get this job?

I had a previous apprenticeship at a different company and I wasn’t very happy there because I didn’t feel like it was going to set me up for after my apprenticeship. So I decided to start looking for another job and there were a couple other places but one of my family friends told me about Longveld. I did a little bit of research on them and found out they did stainless steel. At the time all I wanted to do was tech welding and obviously we do predominantly tech. They weren’t advertising for a new apprentice or anything but I was just like “I’ll just give it a shot,” and sent in my CV. Then within the day they sent me an email wanting to meet and, yeah, that was pretty much how I got it!

What have you learnt on the job?

Everything I know I’ve learnt here. Obviously I learnt a little bit from my previous job but nothing compared to here. I never touched a tech welder before I got here, and they just threw me in there and was like, “you’re doing your welding ticket in two weeks.” I’m quite hard on myself because I take a lot of pride in my work. Obviously you have to balance perfection with practicality and you’re working to deadlines so you can’t spend an insane amount of time on everything. The saying is: “it takes the same amount of time to do a bad weld as a good weld. You just have to be realistic.

What do you wish you knew when you left school?

That it’s going to take a while. It’s not something that can happen in five days or it’s not something that’s going to happen overnight. It takes time so you should just enjoy the process, worrying about money, worrying about how long it’s taking you, worrying about the person next to you that might be doing the apprenticeship that little bit faster doesn’t matter because at the end of the day it’s you – it’s all about you building on your skill. It’s all about you becoming the best tradesman that you can be. Money and stuff might not always come directly afterwards or at the same time but just be patient, it will come and you will become better the more you do it, the more you learn and better you’ll be.

What do like most about working at Longveld?

I’ve been here for going on to three years. With all workplaces you form relationships and you come in as a shy person not knowing what you’re really doing. Then you get stuck with someone and you get to know them. Eventually, you’re just mates with everyone, you can work with anyone, talk to anyone. Yeah, just the camaraderie at Longveld is really good, we also have a four day work week which is awesome because I can sleep in on a Friday! Everyone here is knowlegeable, everyone is professional and they know what they’re talking about.

Where would you like to go with your career?

I would like to work my way up the company. I quite enjoy 3D modelling, CAD and all that stuff – so maybe to a role like that. I was thinking maybe in a few years time – underwater welding! Something challenging, something not a lot of people do because there’s a lot of fabricators out there and I don’t want to do the same old, I want to do something that really challenges and pushes the boundary and even if that puts my body on the line. There’s a whole bunch of training that goes into it.

ABOUT LONGVELD

Ko Pirongia te maunga.
Ko Waipa te awa.
Ko Tainui te waka.
Ko Ngaati Maniapoto te iwi.
Ko Ngaati Apakura te hapuu.
Ko Puurekireki te marae.

Ko Les Roa raaua ko Pam Roa
ngaa kaiwhakahaere o Longveld.

From small beginnings.

Longveld was founded by Les and Pam Roa in 1992 with little more than a toolbox, a welder and some great trade skills, to provide stainless steel site installation services to the dairy sector in Australasia.

“Our purpose is to be a team of courageous people creating remarkable things.”

Learn more about Longveld: longveld.com

Longveld Services:

  • Profile cutting
  • Fabrication
  • Engineering design
  • Collaboration projects
  • Bespoke customisation
  • Mobility impaired design
  • Prototyping

    Industries served:

    • Dairy
    • Food & beverage
    • Water
    • Marine
    • Aquaculture
    • Art & sculpture
    • Future foods
    • Medical
    • Veterinary
    • Transport

      Tips & Advice

      What advice would you give someone looking at this type of work?

      Do a little bit of research on a company you apply for and make sure that what they do and what you’re going to learn will align with what you want to do in the future. There’s no point in learning something and getting good at it when it doesn’t align with your future goals.

      What advice would you give to someone deciding on their career?

      I was a builder for a little while and I did tiling. I even considered not doing engineering to become a tiler because I quite enjoyed it. But at the end of the day, I really wanted to do engineering because I knew how it made me feel when I was doing it at school so I was not just going to leave that to be a tiler (not saying tilers aren’t cool! They are awesome I love tiling!!)

      If you don’t know what to do it just takes a little bit of time. While you’re young you can change your careers, and don’t think that because you choose something right after school it’s what you have to stick with for the rest of your life. I’ve personally gone through three-to-four careers already and I’m 23! If you want it bad enough just go for it! You’ll get there eventually.

      What does someone need to know when starting out at work?

      You’re not going to be at the top straight away. Every apprentice starts sweeping the floors. I swept the floors for a year at this one company I worked at. It was fine – I was earning a little bit of money. It is a process you have to start from the bottom. Take your time really.

      What advice do you have for keeping balance/managing stress?

      I have a lot of hobbies. I scuba dive, I ride motorcross, I play golf, I just play a whole bunch of sports really… hiking etc. That sort of takes up my time and really just relieves the stress and sleeping is really good! I have my partner, she’s awesome – she’s my little rock. If I want to talk to her she’s always there. Just having that person to talk to is really good. I could go talk to any of my work mates.

      What is the best career advice you’ve recieved?

      Again, just patience. It’s all about being consistent and doing what you love and doing even what you don’t love to make yourself better. It’s going to take a little bit of time to become the best you can be. Also don’t put stainless steel next to mild steel… it rusts… haha.

      Useful school subjects/qualifications?
      • Engineering Technology
      • Woodwork
      • Calculus
      • Physics
      • English

      When I got to school my mate was light years ahead of me as he had done all the fabricating and stuff before I even got there and he pretty much had a whole year ahead of me. I really wanted to be at least as good as him so was constantly pushing, trying to be better than him. He’s sort of like a motivator, he’s still one of my best mates today and I’m still trying to be better than him… haha. Just constantly trying to at least learn something new or a better way to do something everyday just to try and get my skill up just a little bit more than I was yesterday, because there’s nothing worse than standing still.

      During my schooling I was just constantly staying and doing those late hours learning and getting closer with my teacher and him teaching me stuff that maybe he wouldn’t have enough time to teach other students. I’ve definitely tried to put in the hours to try and learn as much as I could. From schooling – I guess just if you know that’s where you want to go and that’s what you want to do sort of keep at it. Just try and keep learning, try and build on what you learnt the day before.