2017 EIT Outstanding Student Award WINNER

Courses completed:

  • Adv Diploma in Electrical Engineering (DEE22) – Sept 2017
  • Certificate of Competency in Power System Protection (CPS05) – November 2016
  • Certificate of Competency in IEC61850 based Substation Automation (CSZ02) – Sept 2016 

"I am a 46 year old electrical technician from Durban, South Africa.I have been in the electrical transmission/distribution sector for 25 years – the last 18 of which have been as a self employed commissioning engineer and protection specialist.

"The company which I founded in 1999 has been involved both nationally and internationally in the installation and commissioning of primary and secondary equipment in substations, power stations and industrial installations up to 275kV level.

"I have also been the lead commissioning engineer on more than 30 IEC61850 based substation projects over the past 10 years.During this time I mentored 12 young students whilst providing them with an opportunity to complete the experiential part of their local Diploma courses.

 

Left – Undertaking Factory Acceptance Testing (FAT) on clients 145kV GIS – Xian – China – January 2017.
Right – Visiting HV Test Equipment Supplier – YangZhou – China – April 2017.

 

Visiting an HV Test Facility – Xian – China – January 2017
 

I imported and sold this Resonant Frequency HV test equipment to a client in South Africa.This was the first use of the equipment on a 145kV GIS switchboard which was tested at 235kV.

 

Experience at EIT:

I decided to read for the Adv Diploma in Applied Electrical Engineering (DEE22) to add some international flavour to the academic section of my CV to complement the impressive and extensive experiential aspects. At the time, I had researched many different avenues to continue with my studies and EIT seemed to be the best value for money solution as well as having a flexible program which was internationally recognised.  

As it turned out, the EIT experience was perfect for me as I am extremely busy during the week both during the days on site and the evenings compiling test documentation, drawings etc and the pace and flexibility of the program allowed me to study whilst not interfering with my business commitments. 

The online facilities were a pleasure to work with, the lecturers were extremely knowlegable and committed to the teaching/learning process by making themselves available outside of formal sessions to answer questions on the coursework and to engage on matters relating to engineering in general.  On the admin side, the course co-ordinator was always available and willing to assist with queries. Moodle was also an excellent tool which served as a platform for all course related content, news, instructions, announcements, results etc.  It was my experience that EIT have really hit the mark and set the benchmark for online learning due to

The highlight of the course was also the most challenging – that being the FPE module where we worked in groups to deliver a fictitious rural renewable energy project.  What was significant was that the group was spread over 4 continents and many different time zones, yet by using technology were able to co-operate and deliver a solid outcome.  Whilst is was challenging, it was a highlight for me because it was a stark demonstration that IT technology has made the world a very small place, and that online collaboration and sharing of ideas can deliver positive outcomes without the need to travel for face-to-face meetings.

Very early in the course, I created a Facebook Group for the class to share news, problems and to raise issues outside of the formal classroom.  This proved to be very popular which many of the students registering in the group and making contributions.

Whilst busy on the 18 month Advanced Diploma course, I also managed to complete 2 certificate courses in Power System Protection and IEC 61850 based Substation Automation.  Whilst I have expert knowledge in both of these subjects, it is rewarding to now have formal recognition to go with my knowledge and experience.  I managed to score 97% and 99% respectively for these 2 courses. My results were also most pleasing in the Adv Diploma course – I am expecting a total course mark in the mid to high 90’s.

 

EIT in the workplace:

In terms of employability and professional status, my EIT Advanced Diploma in Electrical Engineering has enhanced my status and profile as a commissioning engineer.  I have found that I am taken much more seriously now that I have a solid academic qualification behind me to complement my experience.  I hope that this will lead to some form of professional recognition which will further enhance my credentials in the industry.  I will be investigating this avenue when I arrive in the UK at the end of 2017.  I hope to attract a larger range of clients with the enhanced reputation that the EIT Advanced Diploma will bring.

In terms of technical knowledge, to be completely honest, the EIT Advanced Diploma did not extend my technical knowledge much further in the fields which I have worked in for the past 20+ years. This is probably to be expected since the vast amount of knowledge accumulated in a real-world environment accompanied by self-study, cannot hope to be surmounted by an academic course at this level.  I felt totally in control of the technical content in the various modules and was often able to offer greater insight into technical matters that some of the course presenters. 

There were however some modules where I learned a great deal of technical knowledge, mostly in fields such as power electronics, variable speed drives and energy efficiency which are areas not common to me in my daily work.   

The areas where my EIT Advanced Diploma Studies helped tremendously were in the non-technical areas.  As a business owner, I learned a great deal about financial, legal and human resource matters in the highly enjoyable FPE module.

I am emigrating to the UK at the end of 2017 where I hope to establish myself as a freelance commissioning engineer in the transmission, distribution and power generation sectors.  My aim is to be accredited as a National Grid Commissioning Engineer (TP141 certification) to enabled me to assume lead commissioning engineer roles on 400kV transmission projects.

 

Training and career goals for the next 5 years...

Short term (1 year)

  • In 2018, I want to complete the Graduate Certificate of Renewable Energy with EIT.  The renewable Energy sector is an obvious area in which to extend myself as a commissioning engineer. The GCRE will allow me to have the additional knowledge necessary to apply my commissioning experience in these fields.

 

Medium term (3-5 years)

  • Within the next 3-5 years I would like to have established myself as a commissioning engineer in the UK and have proved my competency in the large scale solar and wind energy space.  I would also like to have gained my TP141 accreditation.

 

Long term (5+ years)

  • I am also considering the EIT degree courses,  but may opt for a mechanical or process control option to extend my knowledge in other areas as I believe I have a well established knowledge base in the electrical discipline.