Online training via the internet really is coming of age when two generations from one a South African company both enrol in the same distance learning course provided by a Perth-based company.
Elite Electrical Services is managed by the Liebenbergs, father and son in a family owned business based in Johannesburg. Both enrolled earlier this year in the Engineering Institute of Technology 18 month Advanced Diploma of Electrical Engineering. And both remain excited about the course several months down the road.
This course is one of many offered online by EIT that attract students from all over the world.
We asked son Chris Liebenberg for some comments about the course, his progress, and what it was like sharing the study with his father.
“Let me say I’m a big advocate for this Online Learning approach,” states Chris. “If it had been this good when I was younger I probably would have studied at least as much as I should have done back then! It is more flexible than classroom based learning. For example, we can always review the recordings of the live sessions if we miss one. But the live sessions presented each week have been fantastic and with an excellent instructor such as we have it is hugely motivational to ‘attend’. I’ve been completely thrilled.”
Mr Leibenberg explained that his background was mainly in IT. He has several of the trade certifications required for electrical work, but both he and his highly experienced father wanted to ensure they remained at the cutting edge of industry by adding to their knowledge of electrical engineering. Elite Electrical Services is a third generation family business and Chris says that right back to his grandfather the emphasis has been upon developing knowledge and expertise to add value for clients. Personal advancement has worked hand-in-hand with the development of the company. It’s in the blood too, it seems, because Chris’s 12 year old son already has his sights set on joining the family business. “He was born with a multimeter in his hand,” says Chris.
Chris comments: “After only a few months I’ve already been able to apply what I have learned in the course to my daily work. It has given me more confidence to tackle complex issues, and in fact I have been surprised by the number of times that what we cover in a week’s work has cropped up in the workplace.”
“We are fortunate our business is still going very strong despite the global recession. We are working our teams 5 days a week minimum when some others seem to be cutting back. I think part of the reason we are travelling well lies in our ability to tackle more advanced work. I think it is important that none of us rest on our laurels or use these tough times as an excuse to delay broadening the spectrum of skills we can offer.”
EIT's Advanced Diploma is an 18-month part-time course, which is quite a commitment for students with full time professional careers to manage. But Chris says he and his father have experienced the benefits first hand and are prepared to put in the hours to be successful. At the moment he is putting in well beyond the 6 hours per week average that the course requires, but this is because he likes to research thoroughly in new subject areas to ensure his depth of knowledge. “Not everyone wants or needs to put so much time into the course,” he notes, “it is just that I like to be fully confident with the fundamentals. We are both definitely highly motivated and the Online Learning delivery provides tremendous flexibility.”
Both father and son seem to be benefitting by doing the course together. They have developed some “healthy competition” over their assignment work but also compare notes and discuss some of the exercises and problems presented by the instructors. “My father occasionally needs some help with his computer connection, and in return it is good to have someone close by to discuss the material with,” reports Chris
Does Chris have any advice for someone contemplating enrolling in this course? He says “Yes, go for it.”