What do you ACTUALLY do?  Your answer can help our industry better promote itself.

There is no doubt that heavy engineering has an image problem.

We’re consistently hearing how hard it is to attract and retain quality staff. Students are not choosing it as a study focus. Apprentices are hard to find. Women are not entering the profession.

Yet, we have all chosen a career in this industry. And, I think, most of us would say that we love it.

So, how do we inject our own enthusiasm for the industry into the next generation of recruits?


Here is a simple way to make a start.

Last year, I came across a post on LinkedIn that said the following: “I am a WELDER: I use the hands of a surgeon and the genius of an artist to fuse metal together using electricity and fire to build the world. What do you do?”.

Behind every mask there is a face, and behind that a story - Marty Rubin.

Wow, I just loved the way the author had described their job so romantically. Who wouldn’t want to be a welder after reading that?!

I loved the pride expressed in their skill and artisanship, and how they identified their higher purpose versus mere job description. I also loved their call to action – their assured challenge to us all. And of course, I loved how they showed the complexity and significance of welding which isn’t well understood by the broader community.

So, my team took up the challenge to write their own personal views on what we “actually do” – including myself.

Don’t hide your staff away – tell their story

It’s not unusual for us to hear from our members that they don’t want to share and promote their staff by profiling them.

Why? Because they’re nervous it will lead to them being poached by other companies.


However, before you close your mind to this idea we challenge you to look at the bigger picture and the ripple effect of such attitudes.

  • If we don’t start showcasing the great expertise we have and how amazing working in our industry is, what role models do our youth have to aspire to?
  • If you don’t start acknowledging and recognising your super stars, why would they want to stay in the first place?
  • If people do want to poach your staff, this gives you a strong reputation for producing quality staff members. You’ll likely to become a employer of choice. Imagine all of those new graduates seeking a new home who’ll be attracted to you because they know how much you value your team. And,
  • If you loose staff after promoting them – don’t blame the profiling, look at how you treat them. If you’re an employer of choice they won’t leave you, because they’re loyal and see a clear career pathway with you.


And, if you do take our challenge and start to profile your staff more – rather than talk about their roles in terms of the activities they do, start talking about their roles in terms of what they love about them and what the higher purpose of their roles are.