Gideon Strydom works in the design, manufacturing, and wire and steel industry as a Commissioning Technician as well as an electrical designer at Clifford Machines and Technology. He is also a recent graduate of EIT's 52726WA - Advanced Diploma of Applied Electrical Engineering (Electrical Systems). With some work experience under his belt, and now a qualification, Gideon's dream of becoming a fully qualified electrical engineer is in motion.
Gideon graduated high school in 2006 at Pioneer High School. He quickly enrolled at a Further Education and Training college to complete a National Certificate in engineering studies. He soon was employed at Hlobane Coal Mine as an electrical assistant.
In 2008, Gideon knew he needed to level up if he wanted to remain employable in a technologically advancing world. He moved to Pietermaritzburg to further his studies, but at the same time pursue an apprenticeship. However, his affinity for engineering was apparent from a young age.
"Since I can remember, I was always fascinated by how things work, why they work, and sometimes more importantly, why they don't work. If you can understand these three things, nothing can stop you. What a better place to get to understand this than through engineering?" Gideon remarked.
In 2009, he started an apprenticeship with Ramsay Engineering. He spent seven years with the company, eventually qualifying through Ramsay to work as a Maintenance Electrician. In 2016, Gideon was offered the role of electrical designer and team leader at Clifford Machines and Technology. In 2019, the company went through a restructuring process, and Gideon found himself in the role of a commissioning technician once more.
Nonetheless, Gideon knew that engineering practitioners keep their skills updated, no matter the highs and lows of business. He searched around and found EIT, which allowed him to both continue working and expanding his skills online.
"There are a couple of reasons I specifically chose this course. I think the first factor was the fact that the course is covered by the Dublin accord. Secondly, it is such an inclusive course - it covered all my needs and more".
The Dublin Accord is an international agreement that provides international professional recognition of selected programs. The Engineering Institute of Technology's courses are covered by the accord. Thus, Gideon's engineering skills and knowledge are now recognized globally and can be employed in a large majority of countries.
"I was the electrical team leader and designer for four years, and this course gave me a very fresh insight into electrical systems. It also gives you a fundamental understanding of how and why certain aspects work the way they do. My employer reacted very positively toward the online qualification and to the freedom and flexibility that came with it," he said.
Gideon further comments that he is more confident in his knowledge and understanding of electrical engineering since he wrapped up the course. The developments in the engineering industry as a whole have made him look into expanding his skills in the right areas, as automation replaces some of the more routine jobs an engineering practitioner does.
"I believe the fourth industrial revolution is taking every industry by storm. Included in this is Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. We see this more and more as we try to make our machines easier to maintain, increase production and just all-around more intelligent. Who doesn't want a machine that can tell you something is about to break down before it even does? Scrooge McDuck said: Work smarter, not harder," Gideon comments.
Gideon's passion is to become a fully-fledged electrical engineer and a consultant engineer of project manager sometime in the future. He encourages the youth to get involved in the engineering industry as it is continuously evolving.