Future engineer gets steer on
career with Wilkinson
Ripping stuff apart and putting it back together for fun gave Kyle from Cambridge High a clue for his future career – he’s a labourer at Wilkinson Transport Engineers (WTE) with his eye on an engineering apprenticeship.
WTE specialises in building the dual steering trucks used for rubbish collection, line marking, sweeping and other functions throughout New Zealand. This includes shortening or lengthening trucks, changing suspension, chassis modifications and adding dual axles so the vehicle can be driven from both sides.
Kyle landed the job by walking in with his CV and having a chat with the person in charge. They soon saw he was keen and offered him a job. He’s hoping to be the next in line to fill an apprenticeship at the business that’s been training young locals since the 1970s.
“I’ve just been brought up with using my hands. I’ve enjoyed building stuff, making stuff, tearing stuff apart then putting it back together from a young age and I thought it would be the most enjoyable career to go into.”
Check out what else Kyle has to say about his career journey to date…
(Awaiting start of Apprenticeship)
Top Career Tip
Do what you enjoy and you don’t have to work a day in your life!
A Chat with Kyle about his role
Former Cambridge High School student
How did you get this job?
I came in with my CV and asked to talk to the person in charge and had a good conversation. It all went pretty quickly from there.
What got you interested in this career path?
I’ve just been brought up with using my hands. I’ve enjoyed building stuff, making stuff, tearing stuff apart then putting it back together from a young age and I thought it would be the most enjoyable career to go into.
What do you do in your role?
A bit of everything! Anywhere from stripping trucks apart to taking machine parts out and making new parts or welding. It’s a lot to list!
What do you love about your job?
Just the diversity of eveything. Having something new to do everyday really helps to keep you engaged.
What have you learnt on the job?
Everything from the machining, welding, stripping and fitting, painting, using any type of machinery from mills to lathes to drill pressers or anything like that. Being accurate with measurements is really important, making sure nothing is out of place.
What do you wish you knew when you left school?
Just to be a little more diligent. Ask more questions, if you don’t ask many questions you miss out on a lot of information.
What do you love about working at this job?
The diversity of everything being able to do just about anything. There’s a lot of knowledge and highly skilled people here from who you can learn from.
Where would you like to go with your career?
I would like to start my own business one day as a performance engineer, building cars in the future with the skills that I’ve learned from here. Working on cars is one of my hobbies at home so I’d like to incorporate my hobby into my work.
Tips & Advice
Useful school subjects/qualifications?
Definitely maths! I wasn’t necessarily the top in my class but maths definitely helps. Maths is important because we tend to measure quite a lot of stuff, so you have to be able to convert it to other units of measurements. Any technical subjects are useful really. I took carpentry and engineering, which all helps in different aspects. Reading and drawing also helps.
What sort of person do you need to be for this kind of work?
Someone that wants to learn. You’re only going to learn as much as you want to. So if you’re doing it just to get by you’re not going to learn as much as if you were asking to learn new things all the time. You have to have good interest in the sector.
What advice would you give to someone looking at this type of work?
Just get stuck into it! Get your hands on as much as possible. Get involved with everything so that you can build a range of skills. Anything that you’re allowed to do just put your hand up.
What advice do you have for keeping balance or managing stress?
Have good hobbies. Do stuff that you really enjoy and make sure work life stays at work and home life stays at home.
From a small engineering shop in the ’90s, Wilkinson Transport Engineers have grown exponentially, and remarkably from the same premises, they occupy today at Albert Street in Cambridge.
Although they commenced business as general engineers specialising in heavy transport, they quickly realised their strengths lay in cab and chassis modification and suspension, steering and braking developments for the heavy transport industry and in later years have developed specialised vehicles for the waste and environmental industries.
Learn more about WTE wtel.co.nz