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The mechanics of engineering

December 2008

The mechanics of engineering

Ben Davidge was one of those people that knew what his career path was from the outset. A former Hutt Valley High Student, Ben has always had a keen focus on technology.

“I started doing hands-on engineering at a young age. At the age of 11, I worked as a volunteer at the Silverstream Railways and was always fascinated by using manual machines and creating. I was mainly self-taught at an early age, I just enjoyed creating projects and learning how things were done.”

From school he went straight into the Certificate in Mechanical Engineering at WelTec. “The certificate is hands-on and practical - creating parts, drawing and some design. I branched off into toolmaking but there are also options to go into fitting and turning or maintenance and diagnostics”

“I found that there wasn’t enough time in the day – I just wanted to stay as long as I could. I really enjoyed the projects – making parts from drawings. The theory was there to back up the practical. It was all based on the workshop environment which I enjoyed.”

He’s turned his passion into a profession working for Agmar Tools 2000 Ltd in Lower Hutt. Mark Fitfield of Agmar Tools has been impressed with Ben. “He’s very bright and articulate. We’re very proud to have him on staff. It’s hard to find top calibre people like this and so we think that we are very lucky.”

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Ben is thoroughly enjoying his role. “The thing with engineering is that there are a number of ways of achieving the same result, and there are always advantages and disadvantages of each method. People think I make hammers for a living but it’s a lot different that that – we would make the machines that make hammer – it’s a huge field there are so many areas and I work in just one part of it. The type of work we do at Agmar is really specialised, there are lots of interesting projects and the block courses at WelTec have really assisted with the work I do.”

Ben’s passion for engineering was showcased at the Regional WorldSkills Regional Competition which he won earlier this year. The competition tested a number of areas including tolerances, accuracy, miling and turning. Ben’s future is looking bright, “I can go into fitting and turning, toolmaking or move onto research and development. I might consider going on to complete a diploma at WelTec . I’m particularly interested in plastic engineering, there’s been a huge leap in technology so who knows what’s next?”


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