Every single student who successfully completes an EIT program of study should be enormously proud of their achievement as it is not an easy accomplishment! We are aware that for the majority of our students the decision to engage in further study can require significant sacrifice as they balance their study along with current employment and family commitments. Each and every student who completes one of our programs does so after a great deal of dedication and perseverance. We do, however, like to find and reward those who stand out.
We recently called for any students who successfully graduated from an EIT program to apply for our Outstanding Student Award. We received many applications and the decision process was tough because so many worthy candidates emerged.
After careful consideration we are pleased to announce the winner of the 2016 EIT Outstanding Student Award!
Richard Awo - Advanced Diploma of Electrical and Instrumentation (E & I) Engineering for Oil and Gas Facilities
You can read Richard's Story below.
I was born into a middle class Nigerian family in June, 1984. At age 12, I started my secondary school where I began developing interest in engineering. At 17, I joined a Bachelor’s degree program in Petroleum Engineering at Federal University of Technology Owerri, Nigeria. Upon graduation, I was hired by Nipco PLC to work as a tank farm operations Engineer. Two years later, I joined a master’s degree in Petroleum Engineering in Germany. Upon graduation from the Master’s program in 2013, I went into OneSubsea engineering development program. Currently I work as a Project/Design Engineer for OneSubsea.
Outline your study experience at EIT. Consider, for instance: the content, your lecturers, learning remotely, your course coordinator, the technology used and your interactions with your fellow students. Please include both your study highlights and challenges
After being offered a controls system Project/Design engineer job after my master’s program, I soon realized I was up for a new kind of challenge in an environment where mistakes are non-tolerable owing to how costly they can be. I began to search for an online program that will quickly help bridge the knowledge gap between the basic theoretical engineering learnt in the University and the “real deal” needed to accomplish the day-to-day tasks at work. The EIT course came very handy.
Although, deciding to undertake an Advanced Diploma course at EIT was not an easy choice for someone who already holds a Master’s degree but after reading through the content of each module in the course brochure, I was convinced this was exactly what I needed to brace myself up for the job and for a quick career growth. When the course kicked off, I experienced some initial challenges as I was new to electrical and instrumentation principles. But after a couple of lectures, I was blown away by the experience and knowledge level of the lecturers.
The lecturers are simply well routed in their respective areas. They were able to demystify electrical and instrumentations concepts and after the 5th module, I found myself understanding and contributing to technical meetings at work. At this instance, there was clear evidence of a return on the investments made on the course. This initial satisfaction brought a fresh motivation and as the course progressed, the puzzles and questions I had prior to beginning the course were gradually answered. Thanks to the very detailed course materials and the availability of the lecturers to respond to my many questions.
The remote learning experience with absolutely no need for travelling was a “must have” for me. I often embark on short notice business travels, therefore the idea of an educational trip may not be welcomed by my employer or the clients whose projects I am working on. With the remote online learning system, I only need a good internet connection and "voilà", the class was up and running. I was quite delighted to see that there were other students also interested in electrical and instrumentations concepts. I could learn from the lecturers’ responses to their questions. The interactive interfaces of the “Blackboard Collaborate” application, and the fact that the lecturers asked questions to keep the student in check while the webinars were ongoing were really helpful.
The combination of the online interactive learning system, zero travels, flexible schedule, professional coordination of the course and experienced lecturers were my motivation for a successful completion of this course. The absence of any of these could have made me abandon the course when the challenges creped in at the onset. In summary, the course was practical and very industry-based. The flexibility of the webinar sessions is something any student with a full time work schedule will appreciate. I have therefore decided for another Advanced Diploma Course with EIT and have recommended the course to several other engineering colleagues.
Describe how you have applied the EIT program knowledge to your work and if the program has helped you with career advancement.
I recall a particular incident that made me greatly appreciate the course. During the module on “Electrical Motors”, my department at work had an issue at the commissioning phase of a project which we delivered to a customer in Africa. One of the electrical motors coupled to a gear pump in a Hydraulic Power Unit. It was drawing excessive current and there was no evidence of short circuit or a fault or cable insulation breakdown. For an offshore oil and gas facility, customers do not like this kind of threatening occurrence hence there was need for a quick response from the project design team. I was able to help the field service team understand that this may have been caused by a wrong choice in the number of pole of the motor (number of poles impacts RPM and RPM impacts flow rates) or the configuration of motor terminals (delta or star). After changing out the motor coil to one with a lesser number of poles and also reconfiguring the motor terminals the new motor drew the nominal current value as indicated on its nameplate.
Another instance was when I was faced with making a choice between the available physical communication media (RS 485, LAN via Ethernet TCP/IP and Fibre Optics) for connecting a field PLC with a control room DCS system. The communication distance between the PLC and DCS was 1.5km and this was a high data rate application as the PLC programmed to solve and transmit the result of several algorithms. After attending the module on “Industrial Communications”, I was able to evaluate these available options based on the knowledge gained in the course, proposed the features, pros and cons of each communication media and finally proposed Fibre Optics to the customer. Fibre optic was optimal for this application as it is suitable for both the communication distance and the high volume of data transfer between the PLC and the DCS.
These are classical examples of how the course helped me improve on the job. It is for these reasons of satisfaction gotten from attending the first course that I decided to register for and participate in another 18 months advanced diploma course in Plant Engineering. I am looking forward to the benefits that will accrue from the ongoing course in Plant Engineering.
If possible, ask your work supervisor or a colleague to write a few words regarding how the program has affected your performance at work.
Comment by my manager: “Designing equipment in our company starts always with a design specification where we describe the functional and safety requirements of the individual units that we want to build. Since Richard completed the course on Electrical and Instrumentation Engineering for Oil and Gas Facilities at EIT he was able to improve our standard requirements for the topside equipment. Especially in the area for the design of the electrical and instrumentation equipment in hazardous areas and the PLC interface. And based on the course content Richard is now in a better position to drive the discussion about technical solutions with our customers in a fruitful way.”
What are your training and career goals for the next 5 years?
My career goals for the next 5 years is to continue to understand what drives my industry (oil and gas), where technology is headed and how my skills and experience can find further application in the industry. Ultimately, I aim to become a technical manager for an oil and gas project for either a multinational or my own company in the future.
The Winner Receives:
The runners-up will receive: