Early nights and eating breakfast…
Secrets to Supreme Careers
The pathway from school to the workforce can be tricky to navigate but former Hamilton Boys’ High students and Supreme Sheetmetals engineering design team members Yzer and Todd have a few secrets to making it easier…
FutureForce® caught up with Yzer Rebolledo and Todd Higgs, find out more about the design work involved in engineering, and the tips they shared about starting their working life are just as important:
- Prepare for the longer hours. Go to bed early and have a good sleep schedule.
- Don’t stay up all night watching Tik Toks and playing games – you are not at high school anymore!
- It’s very important to eat breakfast – don’t be the guy who feeds off energy drinks all day!
- Don’t take sick day unless you are really sick!
- Stick with it when it’s hard – prove to the boss you are a good person to progress in the business.
Todd Higgs (left)
Yzer Rebolledo (right)
A Chat with Yzer & Todd about their roles
Yzer Rebolledo, Draughtsman & Todd Higgs, Laser Programmer
Former Hamilton Boys’ High School students
What is a CAD Draughtsman?
Yzer: It’s somebody who draws up the “blueprint” of whatever the customer wants to make. We get a request, it could be for anything really, then I draw up how that looks.
A CAD draughtsman uses Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software to create technical drawings and plans for various industries, like engineering and manufacturing. The role involves translating conceptual designs into detailed and accurate digital representations that guide the construction or production process.
What is a Laser Programmer?
Todd: I take the parts, or that “blueprint” that Yzer draws up and process them to get cut on the laser.
A CNC laser programmer designs and code the instructions that guide Computer Numerical Control (CNC) laser cutting machines. They create precise machining paths and parameters, enabling the CNC laser to accurately cut, engrave, or etch materials according to specified designs and patterns.
How did you get started?
Y: I wanted to be an engineer when I left school, so I tried to follow that path. I just liked being able to know how stuff works in the world.
T: I didn’t really know what to do when I was in school. I started off working in the actual laser shop here before moving into the office and getting into the programming side.
What have you learnt on the job?
Y: There’s the technical side of things like how to use all the different software and computer programmes… then there’s just like the basic stuff, how to wake up at 6am in the morning, staying for 8 hours. First day it was a challenge but you get into the habit of it after a while.
T: Probably time management, you’ve got to be on top of everything and you have to show up to work even if you don’t want to. So have some resilience and motivation is important.
What are some things you like about the job?
Y: Drawing, I really like drawing and being able to be creative. Sometimes we get jobs from customers asking us to design something like for a gate, or like a logo, a picture – I like doing that, it makes the day go faster. And not just doing the same thing all the time.
T: Yeah I’m the same, just not always doing the same thing – having those changes and that variety keeps it interesting.
What do you love about working at Supreme Sheet Metals?
Y: The people. They’re all nice, they’re all fun, good to chat with. A workplace wouldn’t be good with strict people or people who just don’t like fun.
T: Same. Boss is quite nice to everyone. And we have social catch ups where we’ll have a barbeque or something.
What’s a typical day like on the job?
Y: I get work from Antony, our Laser Manager. He gives me requests and things to work on throughout the day.
We get emails from customers asking “Can we cut this? Can we get a price for this? Can we quote this?” – and so I process all that. For example, they might ask how much it costs to make or cut something so I price it all out, write up a quote and that gets sent to the customer.
Or if it’s a job that comes to me, I draw it all up and plan out the designs, then it gets sent to Todd who works out how to programme the CNC laser to cut everything out in the shop – so it’s kind of like a train.
Top Career Tip
“Work a job that you like and you’ll never work a day in your life.” – Todd Higgs
HELPFUL TIPS AND ADVICE
What sort of person would be good at this type of work?
Y: It helps if you like engineering! I work with numbers a lot so having a knowledge of maths, or at least some knowledge of the basics, will definitely help. Or if you’ve got some knowledge of how to use the software – or have an interest in learning how to.
T: Communication will be good because we talk to customers quite often. Patience -sometimes people make mistakes, something is not quite right, and we figure it out and move on.
What is your advice for keeping a good work-life balance?
T: Gym and sleep – especially if you’re sitting down all day you’re going to have to do something physical after work.
Y: Getting out, getting sun especially being indoors all day for 8 hours. Try not to get too bored or distracted easily at work. Learn how to entertain yourself during work have the initiative to find things to do because if you don’t, you’ll start to hate it.
What is your advice for someone starting out in the workforce?
Y: Prepare for the long hours. Going to bed early, finding a good sleep schedule. Not just staying up all night watching Tik Toks, playing games and stuff like would do if you were in high school.
I’d say it’s very important to eat breakfast – don’t be that guy who feeds off energy drinks through the whole day – it’s so not healthy!
T: Stick through it. Don’t take heaps of sick days, especially when you’re not really sick. It shows your boss you don’t give up easy and you’re a good person to move up in the company.
We also sat down with Office Manager Jo Webster to find out more about what employers look for when taking on a young person…
What do you look for when hiring a young person? What kind of skills or attitudes might they need to have?
“Even if they have been in and swept floors somewhere. It shows a willingness to actually do something. And that “something” doesn’t need to be specific to engineering or mechanical… it’s just a willingness to work.”
“As far as schooling goes, I think as long as they’ve got the basics covered, your English and your Maths. A lot of young people think “I don’t need English if I’m going to build something” but for mechanical you do need to be able to read a plan. That’s why you need maths as well. Being able to use a calculator – it sounds silly but knowing the different functions and what to type in to get your answer.”
“Having some computer skills is good too. Not necessarily typing, just being able to use things like Word, Excel, Outlook. Specific programmes need to be taught anyway, but to know how to get onto the internet, download a form, email somebody something, being able to scan a piece of paper attach it to an email. They’re skills we take for granted a lot of the time, that you think everybody knows how to do it, but they don’t.”
“Those are the main things. Number one is willingness to come to work every day, on time and do the set hours and know you’re not going to get paid a million dollars in week one. You’ll get there eventually but just be willing to put in the work and keep showing up.”
Supreme Sheetmetals is a close-knit Hamilton-based engineering business specialising in laser cutting and light fabrication.
The team work on all kinds of projects and have the three Cs of excellent design and fabrication:
In fact, they can design, draw and fabricate almost anything a customer requires using the latest cutting, CNC punching and folding equipment. They do this for industries including joinery, transport, marine, forestry, safety and more.
useful secondary school education
- I.T. or Digital
- Graphic Design
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