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Jake Smith

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Meet Jake, a Plant Mechanic by trade but an all round
good bloke by default.

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Jake Smith and I’m a plant mechanic in the mines. I started in
2007 when I did my apprenticeship at Integra. I had a great time there and
I’ve been in the mines since and I start a new job in a few weeks.

Any nicknames good or bad?

Turnstile or pothole.

How did that come about?

Just from football terms for my defensive efforts. Over the years the boys
have given me stick about it.

You’re not that bad, are you?

Nah I wouldn’t think so, but I’ll let them run with it.

Where do you live and how long have you been in the Valley?

I live here in Singleton and I’ve lived here all my life. I grew up on my parents
farm just outside of town, there’s always been plenty of good times out there.
I’ve always been helping dad with the cows and machinery. Hopefully in the
future I can get myself a farm or head back out to the family farm and run it.

When did you start and what’s the ride been like?

Since the apprenticeship in 2007 its provided me plenty of opportunities and
hopefully there’s more to come. It’s great when you have a trade you really
enjoy.

What’s a usual day at work entail?

12 hour shifts. Out of bed and head to work at 6. Get our debrief and jobs for
the day and then its full on into it. Working on machinery all day and hopefully
a bit of job satisfaction. Then when knock off rolls around its off to the pub for
a few beers.

What’s the best thing about your job?

Just job satisfaction like I said before. Going to work on the big gear and to
know you’re making a difference. I’ve always tinkered around on the farm with
the machinery and love getting into it. You’ll find it hard for me to complain. I
always look forward to working on the big gear.

The worst thing?

It’s probably shift work as everyone says, working the weekends and missing
special occasions and times with family and friends. Missing the kids sporting stuff and the all the small things they achieve, I think everyone would say it’s a
bummer, but it’s the sacrifice we make to provide for them.

What’s a funny story about work that you can tell?

When I was an apprentice, I gave a tradesman a bit of lip and we had a bit of
laugh, but it turned back on me. When I came back from crib all my tools were
glued together, so I spent a bit of time getting them back apart. Fair to say
lesson learnt.

Were you ever sent for a long (weight) wait?

Yeah as a work experience I got sent down the road and had to ask for a long
wait. After about 15mins I cottoned on to what was happening and headed
back to work with my tail between my legs.

How different is your job to what you wanted to be when you were a kid?

Nah, I achieved what I set out to. I left school and got an apprenticeship in the
field I always wanted too. It worked out well. I love hands on work and getting
dirty. There’s a sense of achievement at the end of the day when you can
stand back and say you repaired something and made a difference, that’s at
home, on the farm or at work.

What would your mum say about you when you were a kid?

I’m sure she’d say I was an angel, but I can guarantee I wouldn’t have been.

Family?

I’m married, and I’ve got two kids, a boy and a girl. That keeps me busy these
days with sports and keeping them happy, it’s a full-time job. The wife is
amazing and very understanding. I get away with a bit, playing golf and
football. The young fella just started in the under 6’s playing footy, so it’s a bit
of travelling. He enjoys his golf as well. The daughter’s a little angel. They
keep me busy don’t you worry.

What do you do in your downtime?

I play a bit of football myself and when I can get a weekend off I play a bit of
golf and take the family water skiing. So yeah, just spending a fair bit of time
with the kids on my days off.

You said you live in Singleton, what’s the best part about living there?

It’s a close community, great lifestyle and it’s not too far to get to Newcastle or
down to Sydney, yet the kids get that country lifestyle upbringing in a great
environment.

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