Mthulisi Mlalazi Thenga is a 28-year old, qualified Control & Instrumentation technician. He mainly specializes in system integration & automation. In 2005, Mthulisi graduated from high school in Zimbabwe, but decided to migrate to Botswana. He would visit Kgalagadi Breweries in the region and be fascinated by the automated processes at the plant. He ended up spending some time in the technical departments there assisting with the electrical, control and instrumentation technologies.
As a child Mthulisi found he had a profound love for machines. He was also keen to discover how electricity was generated. Clearly he was already actively – but perhaps even unconsciously - trying to find which niche of engineering and technology he would fit into as an adult.
“Finally I realized my loyalty was in Control Engineering. I went back to Zimbabwe to start my tertiary education at Bulawayo Polytechnic College. I worked hard and excelled,” Mthulisi said.
As a result he qualified as an electrical technician and a registered qualified specialist in the following disciplines:
- Industrial communication.
- Networking and high speed nonmetallic communications.
- Control systems engineering.
Through EIT, he completed further studies and graduated with an Advanced Diploma in Electrical & Instrumentation (E&I) Engineering of Mining and an Advanced Diploma of Applied Electrical Engineering.
During his apprenticeship Mthulisi’s work included the maintenance of heavy industrial equipment; since then he has moved up into system integration and automation.
Incredibly, he has had a hand in either modifying or commissioning projects at thermal power stations in South Africa, at the Unilever plant in Kenya, at the Dundee Precious Metals smelter in Namibia, at the First Quantum Minerals Kalumbila mine in Zambia, and more.
And he says of his work, “I automate and breathe life into chemical plants, water treatment plants, manufacturing firms and mineral processing plants,” he said. “I am passionate about control systems and I have been on teams that have worked hard to make the world a better place.”
The online platform that EIT employs must be scrutinised and who better to do this than the students using it.
Mthulisi’s assessment is insightful; he does not hesitate to outline the challenges faced by someone working long, hard shifts and studying online at the same time. He warns people off, “if you have problems with motivation, procrastination and need lots of individual attention from an instructor.”
On the other hand he states, “Online training is the future”. He believes it teaches students to become “survivors”, “…it taught me how to plan and how to be responsible”.
He loved the flexibility and savings – with a computer and internet he was able to study anywhere and, because he did not have to commute to and from a campus, he saved time and money.
He was kind enough to describe the EIT online platform as “outstanding” because of the uniqueness of its remote labs, student access to library resources and the live streaming of the webinars twice daily (which are also recorded for revision purposes).
Mthulisi did, however, point out something that EIT is poignantly aware of: “Some content isn’t ever offered in an online format. For example, you can watch a hundred videos on welding, but until you have that welder in your hand, you’re never going to master your technique”.
In closing, the following advice from this proactive, driven and passionate young man is also worth sharing: Keep in touch! Listen to business and engineering leaders on LinkedIn and on other social media forums! And actively contribute! He believes this helps him “grow and transform day by day”.