Changing to Electrical

Peter Longobardi is 36 and in his first year of an electrical apprenticeship with Onesteel. He worked in kitchens as a head chef for many years, but got tired of the demands of the hospitality industry so decided to seek a new career.

The apprenticeship is four years and the first year is spent mainly at Whyalla Tafe, which is set up like a factory for apprentices. Peter is paid a wage and guaranteed a job in the Onesteel operation during and after completion of his electrical qualifications.

In Whyalla, Onesteel operate an open cut mine for iron ore, hematite and magnetite, all materials that go into steel production. There is much to do for electricians on site, from maintaining motors and pumps and mainly controlling the isolation of electrical supply during routine shut downs of certain areas and machinery. Making sure supply is dead so workers can disconnect motors and pumps is a very important aspect of an electrician’s job on the mine site.

Peter and completed a 20 week job training program on hand tools, power tools, maths and computation and interpreting drawing plans. Peter has done very well because he has good job motivation, problem solving skills and work ethic which he puts down to his age and experience with getting things done.

He struggled a bit with some of the maths and electrical physics because it was so long ago that he did equations back in Year 11! But he found that with internet research and dedication to his assignments he brought himself up to speed quite easily.

Some of his colleagues are quite young and their attitudes are very different to Peter’s but he is finding more and more that his work experience and his dedication to the course is proving to be a very successful way of navigating his new career path.

Next year Peter will be working on the mine site full-time, whilst accruing the hours necessary to fulfill his electrical apprentice requirements. While it is a very comprehensive qualification, including four years of training and testing, it does pay off, with great prospects in the mining industry.

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VJ Matthew Jenkin