Paul Celenza is the College Manager at the Engineering Institute of Technology (EIT); he has worked for the college for eight years. Upon a recent visit to South Africa, Paul reflected on eight years of change and innovation in the education sector and revealed more about EIT’s novel approach to the future of engineering education and training
EIT’s sister company, IDC Technologies, began offering courses to students over 25 years ago; short engineering professional development courses, on site and in classrooms around the world – a branch of the business which still exists today.
With the reach of the internet and emerging online technologies EIT began offering these short certificate courses online. The platform is live and interactive and provides students, in all corners of the world, with access to engineering and technical training. The college also now awards Australian qualifications in a range of diplomas, advanced diplomas, BSc and Master degrees for those in, or heading into, the technology and engineering industries.
These qualifications have been designed by EIT with teams from industry, to ensure the content is relevant and driven by the demands in industry. Celenza says the college has been able to nimbly adjust its offerings to keep up with the changing nature of technology:
“Traditional engineering is morphing. Some positions in industry are becoming more niched, whereas others require a range of engineering disciplines. The education behind these professions needs to change as the technology changes.”
For example one of the college’s signature degrees is the Bachelor of Science in Industrial Automation Engineering. Apart from covering the specific technologies relating to it, it incorporates mechanical and electrical engineering; it provides students with the requisite skills for a profession which is critical to the fourth industrial revolution.
Celenza commented further:
“The whole world is talking about STEM - we want to facilitate student careers in technology and engineering across the globe.”
EIT already reaches students in over 140 countries, but felt a campus would benefit school leavers. To this end the first EIT campus opened in Perth, Western Australia in February this year. Students passionate about engineering and technology, from Australia and abroad are being welcomed. The on campus learning is blended, using EIT’s local and international lecturers; academics and engineering experts from industry.
The Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) makes the process of bringing students into Australia possible. Higher education institutions and their unique course are listed in the register, and international students are encouraged to apply. Celenza said:
“Our first intake has been small, which is good – we have learned much from this band of learners; they have encouraged us to expand in Perth and open others in Australia and abroad. With all that EIT offers, we are really building the hybrid college of the future.”
Paul spearheads the recruitment of students in the VET (Vocational Education and Training) sector of EIT - where all training is delivered online. This option to study online, for those working full time and with family commitments, is a massive advantage to students. The need to do further study has become increasingly important in our fast-paced world and the online platform of learning is the facilitator.
In the VET courses and higher education degrees EIT ensures all content is designed with the demands of the workplace in mind and it is continuously improved. Celenza explains:
“Universities, with mammoth campuses, often teach obsolete skills to students. They graduate with little or no practical work experience; it becomes lost in the academic world. Students with access to hands-on experience which is underpinned by technology translates into more valuable, employable workers.”
EIT, Celenza says, is consolidating and improving all of the technological requirements of a modern day education and training institution. They are providing their students with remote labs that can be accessed from all over the world and creating virtual simulation canvasses for students to experiment on.
Furthermore, the institution is utilizing a new, novel, cloud-based approach to student management. Celenza’s recent trip to South Africa, from EIT’s Australian head office was motivated by this. He was tasked with guiding the institutions’ Learning Support Officers (LSOs) through the technological processes of upgrading their student management framework.
EIT, on the road to 2020, is in a consolidation phase of strengthening their offerings in both the VET and higher education sectors - steadily building the foundation of future learning so that they can be the futuristic institution that modern day students are seeking.
Paul notes that as a College Manager he comes into contact with EIT students from many cultures, from all over the world. He admits proudly that he provides support to many of these learners who are determined to improve their employability and their lives through gaining qualifications via a globally relevant institution.