I can’t count the number of times I hear “I can’t find a qualified press brake operator”. While at the same time, I hear Press Brake operators why should I learn this stuff? I’ll never use it?”
The answer boils down to one thing…
You can’t find operators because, no one stays long enough to learn the trade. They don’t learn the trade because there is nothing being taught; other than push the GREEN button to go and the RED button to stop.
So, two question for leadership “would this job hold your interest and are would you stay?” Probably not!
Even if a great knowledge of sheet metal is not required on a daily basis, it is still a fascinating subject when you start to dig into the topic. The more interesting you make your trade the more you’re going to learn about it and the better you’re get at it. Imagine the pride of creating a watertight corner notch that the average CAD system won’t even profile! Now would you want to come back tomorrow and learn even more? Probably! Besides, you don’t really think you will lose your skilled help for a dollar an hour just to move to a shop where they can choose between the GREEN or RED buttons?
Press Brakes Operators why should I learn this stuff?
And to you the operator, the ones that ask “why should I learn this stuff, I’ll never use it?” To begin with, the statement is false unless you make it so. The more you understand and are able to apply the knowledge the more you are worth to an employer. For those of you that work in shops where a “set-up” person sets the brake up and parts are run by the lesser skilled this statement “why should I learn this stuff, I’ll never do it?” is still a false statement. Why?
If employers can’t find help from the outside they have no choice but to raise folks up from within and that would be you if you have the knowledge and can apply it. Read a book, Read articles or take some classes from the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association, Int. (FMA) or a local trade school(s). It will be worth your time.
It’s a fascinating trade, a fascinating subject and one that you can make some good money too… if you’re skilled and understand your trade.