Having taken a year off after completing his secondary education at the Tweed River High School, James is now settling into a four-year Boilermaker Apprenticeship with Sunshine Sugar.

Having grown up surrounded by sugarcane fields near the village of Tumbulgum; James is no stranger to the sight, sound and smell of sugar. He also enjoys working with steel doing welding and fabrication work.

Boilermakers are typically involved in the repair or replacing of parts such as valves, joints, or pipes, using welding equipment, hand tools, and gas torches; and they work on boilers and storage tanks.

James says; ”There is a really good atmosphere in the Boilermakers workshop here at Sunshine Sugar. Everyone is really welcoming and supportive. Whatever I need help with, all I need to do is ask and the guys don’t hesitate to help.”

Boilermakers in the sugar mill get a good deal of variety in the job. They work with metal, stainless steel and aluminium, and hone their welding skills across a variety of welders including Stick, MIG, TIG and Flux cored.

Along with the hands-on experience on site, James also spends a day per week undertaking TAFE study.

“This apprenticeship at Sunshine Sugar is giving me some really good skills that are setting me up for my future. And, I come to work with a whole team of friendly, fully qualified and experienced boilermakers.” says James.