A day in the life of a diesel mechanic - Jan
From apprentice to qualified diesel mechanic
Meet Jan, one of Babcock Equipment’s qualified diesel mechanics literally working at the coalface. He works mainly on Volvo excavators and articulated dump trucks, including the Volvo EC480DL, EC750DL, EC950EL, A40G and A60H machines. Jan enjoys working with a premium brand name such as Volvo, and in particular the Volvo ADTs.
Why did you become a diesel mechanic?
It was an easy decision as I love working with my hands and fixing things. Being able to work on a Volvo construction machine is a satisfying feeling.
How long have you been working as a diesel mechanic?
I’ve been working as a diesel mechanic on site for the past two and a half years, after completing a three-year apprenticeship with Babcock. I was part of a group of 12 apprentices who started at Bartlett in 2014. We spent five months completing the first two phases of training, doing mostly theory on induction, safety, tools, etc. We also completed a welding course during this time. We were then sent to different branches to do our on-site training for about a year before returning to Bartlett to complete Phase 3 and 4 of training which consisted of practical training on the different components of the machines. I then completed my on-site training at the Wolmaransstad branch where I worked with my artisan. There we worked in the diamond mining sector where we had both Volvo and SDLG machines.
After completing my trade test, I started on site in Steelpoort where I worked for about 4 months. I then moved to Middelburg where I am currently still working on Volvo machines in the opencast mining sector for coal.
Did you have a mentor during your apprenticeship?
My artisan was a great mentor in the 3 years we worked together, encouraging me to become the best mechanic I can be. The artisan you get to work with plays a big role in how you will be as an artisan in the future.
Why is the Volvo ADT your favourite Volvo machine?
The Volvo ADT is one of the most maintenance-friendly machines I’ve ever worked on. I won’t exchange that for any other brand. The machines are reliable and production can continue for hours.
What do you do in your free time?
I like to go fishing or keeping myself busy on a woodwork project.