Jacques Esterhuizen is an Engineering Institute of Technology graduate from South Africa, who earned his 52810WA - Advanced Diploma of Mechanical Engineering in 2017. However, he has wanted to be an engineer ever since he was a child.
“I was always interested in engineering from a very young age. I would disassemble and assemble equipment all the time. My father was an electrician, a superintendent and building contractor — he was the one to expose me to the industry.”
After completing high school, Jacques went on to the University of Stellenbosch and completed a four-year Bachelor of Engineering (with Honors) in Electronic Engineering in 1992. Soon after, he began working in the water industry and was exposed to the automation technology involved.
“I installed and maintained SCADA, telemetry, PLC, and automation systems. I integrated and interfaced to pumps, valves, blowers, disinfection units, dosing, compressors, and instrumentation to provide monitoring and control solutions to operational staff, maintenance teams, and management.”
What he had learned equipped him so he could fill a position in the city council in 2005. He worked on the “optimization and improvement of screenings, compactors, grid removal, aeration, sludge treatment, and drying and pumping systems” at the city council.
After many years with the city council, he became an engineering consultant in 2015. Seeing technological developments occur in the engineering world throughout his career, Jacques decided to further his studies to become a reliable practitioner in two engineering disciplines.
He decided to pursue mechanical engineering and began his research to find a program that suited his needs.
“I felt it was important to know and understand the intricacies of mechanical equipment, especially when interfacing to it to provide automated solutions. I already had field experience, but theory was as important. The challenge was to study during full-time employment.”
That is where the Engineering Institute of Technology came in. He decided that while he worked as a consulting engineer, he would study via EIT’s innovative online platform.
“Another reason for selecting EIT was the program structure which included AC motors and drives, HVAC, process plants and piping, energy, efficiency, renewable energy systems, industrial automation, measurement and control systems, and project management. Those modules were a great value to my career, and I could apply the knowledge in my work.”
After graduating with the Engineering Institute of Technology, Jacques noted that his work and his abilities as an engineering consultant strengthened.
“I am currently involved in the design, construction management, and supervision of many HVAC, building, pump station, telecommunications, and renewable energy projects.
“I am responsible for managing various building, construction, and engineering projects.
“The knowledge gained from studying at EIT and the University of Stellenbosch, combined with practical experience, proves valuable in my career as an engineer and project manager.”
Jacques summarizes his time with EIT by outlining three elements he has gained since graduating: improved skills, capabilities, and confidence levels.