Stafford Engineering is a successful Hamilton business with a proud history of developing world-class engineers for the future.

Established in 1986, Stafford is a multi-disciplined precision engineering company servicing clients involved in the local and global food processing, packaging and pharmaceutical industries.

Stafford started life as a machine shop and has grown to include world-class design and fabrication capability, with about 60 team members committed to keeping customers happy and business humming.

Former Fraser High School student Adam Wood joined Stafford after being made redundant during lockdown encouraged him to rethink his career options.

adam wood

Light Fabrication Apprentice



Top Career Tip

Working isn’t all for the money, it’s also for the love. Get yourself out there and get stuck in!

A Chat with adam about his role

Adam Wood
» Stafford Light Fabrication Apprentice
» Former Fraser High School student

What got you interested in this career path?

Covid happened, and I was made redundant. Then I thought, hang on… I kind of want a change. I thought the role at Stafford could be quite a match for me as I’m quite pedantic and like working on cars and machines.

What do you love about your job?

Basically, there is a lot of welding and fabrication in general. I like the fabrication part, where you can stand back and go, “Woah! I made that!” That’s why I enjoy it – seeing something completed.

Any useful subjects and qualifications?

Getting a qualification in automotive and working on cars gave me a good general understanding of the work I do now. I love working on cars and that definitely gave me a good grounding for the engineering side of things. Maths is useful, as is learning to use hand tools and learning to weld. Get as much experience as possible. If you can learn to weld at school that’s even better.

What sort of person do you need to be for this work?

Someone that’s pedantic and who has the drive to do a good job. At the end of the day, everything must be done properly. You’ve got to be a bit of a perfectionist. Everything needs to be pretty bang on.

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

Do as much research as possible into what you’re getting into. To know what you’re getting into, and for what reason, is important. Get a taster of the work that you could be doing by getting some work experience.

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

Health and safety is important. If you’re in this industry, knowing what you’re doing and what tools to use is a good start. If you’re not sure about something, it’s okay to ask for help.

What do you like most about working at Stafford?

I like how it’s quite flexible and there’s a variety of work. I got pretty hands on quite quickly which was cool. There’s a vast range of things I can do, and a lot of learning straight off the bat.

Where would you like to go with your career?

To get my qualification under my belt and see where it goes!


Adam’s taken up the tools as a Light Fabrication Apprentice, where he’s learning a range of tasks, including:

⇒ examining detailed drawings and plans

⇒ operating hand tools, machine tools and welding equipment

⇒ fabricating components and assembling parts and structures

folding, forming and shaping metal

joining and welding metal pieces

polishing a finished product

⇒ checking quality

more about fabrication engineering

to become a qualified fabrication engineer you will need:

  • to complete an apprenticeship and gain the:
  • New Zealand Certificate in Engineering – Fabrication (Level 4), which is a new qualification
  • or a National Certificate in Engineering – Fabrication (Level 4), which is being replaced by the New Zealand CertificateFor this certificate, you choose to specialise in light fabrication, heavy fabrication, or steel construction
  • Industry training organisation Competenz oversees fabrication engineer apprenticeships

useful secondary school education

  • Maths
  • Physics
  • English
  • Technology
  • Trades Academies
  • STAR programme
  • Gateway programme

Interested in a career here?

> Stafford Engineering

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