NZ's youngest Frame & Truss Detailer

Nicole Dobson is in her early twenties.  She talks about her journey to become a qualified frame & truss detailer.

                           Nicole Dobson

“After completing high school, I came to Hamilton to do Nursing at Wintec, but that didn’t work out so I was looking for other jobs and this one came up.  When I left school I didn’t actually know anything about detailing but I had a friend who was working here at Red Stag who said a job might be open so I got in touch with them and got the job straight away.  It was something really different and a role that I’d never heard of.  When I first started, I didn’t know what a truss was which made it a bit more difficult.  I’ve come a long way since then.

"From day one I worked as a trainee detailer and signed into a training agreement about a month after I started the job. In the very beginning,  I was doing practice jobs, and then I moved onto real jobs and would do as much as I could before asking for help or getting someone else to check my work.  I had Pryda software training and started off doing wall frames before moving on to trusses which are more technical.  Having to learn the terminology in the early stages of training was a bit of a challenge but now it’s everyday language.                            

"I completed my qualification in December 2017.  It took me just under two years.  My Certificate in Frame and Truss Detailing is my very first qualification.  My mum, sister, family and friends, were all interested in what I was doing as they had no idea what my job was all about.  My family live up North and my mum and sister have come down here to visit and see what I do.  It’s been a massive learning curve for me including how assessment works.  At school, you’re used to tests and exams but learning on the job for the detailing qualification is different.  There are lots of conversations about the work that you do and what you know. 

"The hardest thing I’ve had to adjust to is being in front of a computer all day.  I still struggle with that.  I’ve always wanted an outside job, so I’ve surprised myself, but I’m enjoying what I do.  In my role, I get to go on-site sometimes and do site measures.  That is interesting as you get to see what you do and how that translates to the work that goes on in the factory.

"At the moment there are only two of us here on this Red Stag site, so we have a mixture of all sorts of jobs.  We have a peer review system so we check-off each other’s work before it goes out.  The project I am on right now is a 3-storey set of units, and it's quite a difficult one.  It’s challenging but that’s all good.  It’s certainly not the average sort of job, and I’m enjoying it.

"In frame & truss detailing you need to be good at problem-solving, have excellent communication skills and have the right attitude.  When something doesn’t quite work out, I don’t know if it’s an architectural issue or perhaps something I've done that isn’t quite right, or is it the software, or even the builder?  There are many challenges, but that makes the job more satisfying. 

"I recommend people getting into a job like this.  You get such a variety of projects to work on, and it’s satisfying knowing that you are part of building someone’s home.  It would be cool to detail my own house and to be able to see my home develop from the plans right through to construction.  I’ve just started a woodworking class and am making wooden toys for my nephew.  I like getting to use all the tools, so I find both my hobby and my day-job extremely rewarding.”

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