Marine Fabricator September/October 2022 - 44

Shop Talk Business
Our trade is in good hands
by Neil Hancock
E
" 'In my day'
conversations fall on
deaf ears, and so
they should. It's not
our day, but we can
be there to help and
support the next
generation. Listen
more. Encourage
them. And don't be
judgmental because
if we are, then our
trade is in trouble. "
mploying young people is
painful. " " They don't know how
good they've got it. " " All they
know how to do is play games on their
phones and computers. "
I hear these things often, and they are
just so wrong. I love young people. I used
to be one!
Here in Australia, I've had the pleasure
and opportunity to teach our next
generation, and we are in good hands.
But how, you may wonder, do we fi nd
more of these stellar young fabricators?
It starts with discarding preconceived
ideas and giving a young and/or
inexperienced person a go. Tomorrow.
And if you don't fi nd one tomorrow,
the next day or the day after that, and
never stop because young people are
the future of our trade.
I am so grateful that Vernon Conlon
decided to give a very young and
immature student a go. He taught me
how to use a sewing machine, dream
up and draw new designs, bend pipe,
cut fabric and, for a long time, make
mistakes. Lots of mistakes. What a
start. What an absolute blessing that
someone I had never met before gave
me an opportunity.
And 44 years later, I am still passionate
about those skills and our industry.
My new work takes me all around
Australia, and I am blessed to see our
trade thriving among young people.
There are many young business owners
who believe in themselves and want to
change the landscape that I lived. But
they are also facing serious challenges-
employing staff, technology, accounting
44 Marine Fabricator | September/October 2022
systems, training-and we need to be
ready to offer help.
I want to recognize a few young
fabricators in this column, but also
offer a shout-out to many others in
Australia and around the world who are
taking a crack at it. To them I say, Stick
with it. It is worth the journey, and
never forget to reach out to me or other
" oldsters " should you feel the need.
Michael Walker, Avtek Covers,
Cranbourne, Victoria
Now 35, Walker took the reins from
the former owner of Avtek back
in 2006 when he completed his
apprenticeship and has not looked
back. His exuberance at making a sale
is electric to watch, and when he gets
the chance to share his experiences in
business, he is an unmovable force.
" I am very grateful for the friendships I
have with fellow fabricators, " says Walker.
" I take every opportunity to reach out to
them and share my experiences. "
Walker's sales ability is unique.
He loves a deal and loves the valueadded
sale. He is a master at it. He has
evolved Avtek Covers into a business
that does the deal, sticks to the deal
and delivers the exact outcome for the
client in an incredibly short space of
time. That's not unique in business,
but Walker does it day in and day
out with the energy of a hurricane.
He is a great listener when learning,
never afraid to ask questions, and
is always prepared to gamble on
his desire to achieve new heights in
project excellence.

Marine Fabricator September/October 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Marine Fabricator September/October 2022

Marine Fabricator September/October 2022 - Cover1
Marine Fabricator September/October 2022 - Cover2
Marine Fabricator September/October 2022 - 1
Marine Fabricator September/October 2022 - 2
Marine Fabricator September/October 2022 - 3
Marine Fabricator September/October 2022 - 4
Marine Fabricator September/October 2022 - 5
Marine Fabricator September/October 2022 - 6
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Marine Fabricator September/October 2022 - 48
Marine Fabricator September/October 2022 - cover3
Marine Fabricator September/October 2022 - cover4
Marine Fabricator September/October 2022 - MFConf1
Marine Fabricator September/October 2022 - MFConf2
Marine Fabricator September/October 2022 - MFConf3
Marine Fabricator September/October 2022 - MFConf4
Marine Fabricator September/October 2022 - MFConf5
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