A long-held passion for hands-on work led Josh Udy to enrol in an engineering apprenticeship straight out of school.
As a young boy, Josh remembers being inspired by his grandfather, a builder. “I’ve always had a passion for this type of work. At high school I really got into tech and engineering and achieved good grades. As soon as I left school I started looking for an apprenticeship.”
Josh found a toolmaking job advertised on the ATNZ website. He applied, was successful, and is now an ATNZ apprentice hosted by Wellington plastics manufacturing and injection moulding company Uniplas.
“I investigated toolmaking and found out what it was all about and thought it was a good fit for me. The precision side of things attracted me as I like working with fine tolerances like .01mm – it’s a challenge and I really enjoy that.”
A typical day for Josh starts at 7am, working on CNC machines, lathes or manual mills making plastic injection moulds for a broad range of items – from everyday objects through to unusual props for movies. “It’s a very broad field. There’s always plenty to do and plenty of variety. I’m never short of things to do!”
As an apprentice, Josh combines work and study every week, working during the day at Uniplas and then spending time one or two evenings on his book work. Once a month he catches up with his ATNZ account manager, Dave.
“Dave comes to work and checks up on me and makes sure I’m doing all my book work and sees that everything’s going well. He also checks whether I’ve got the equipment I need. If I ever have any problems, I just give Dave a ring. He’s always available and there for me.”
Josh says you need to be self-motivated to be an apprentice and be willing to put the work in, but the rewards are worth it.
“An engineering apprenticeship has a good balance of learning and hands-on work. I love toolmaking and if you’re studying something you’re passionate about, you’ll really enjoy it and have fun. Being an apprentice is awesome because you get to earn while you learn and you don’t go into debt like university students do. I enjoy playing the guitar – not having a student debt means I can afford a few luxuries including steak dinners and a new guitar!
“At the end of your apprenticeship your hard work pays off because you end up with a qualification. I think it will be awesome to be an engineer and have a qualification to my name.”
Once he qualifies, Josh says he wants to move into pneumatics, automation and robotics, building robots for the factory and tool designing. “Although I won’t be doing an apprenticeship, I’ll never stop learning.”