EIT student and occasional lecturer Helmut Schütte is lucky to be surrounded by academia in his career and personal life, which has led to an ongoing pursuit of education.

Helmut is the head of instructors and laboratory personnel and facilities manager) for the Department of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering at the University of Pretoria in South Africa.

To add backbone to his work he’s completed four courses with EIT, which he believes fully enhanced his understanding of engineering.

“I think as engineers we can talk about a broad range of topics, but when it comes to engineering you can almost only speak to fellows in the field,” he says.

EIT student Helmut Schutte
Pictured: Helmut Schütte

When his son decided to study engineering a few years ago, the penny dropped for Helmut to do the same as a matter of encouragement to show common interest and moral support. He wanted the opportunity to share discourse with his son and add to the conversation.

Previously Helmut worked in the electrical and electronical engineering field where he relied on in-house training and short courses over and above his Diploma and National Higher Diploma, to stay on top of his work.

“I knew IDC from the 90s, and always appreciated that those courses shared a lot of information you couldn’t find in academic textbooks.”

As a result, Helmut decided on EIT to start a 52708WA - Advanced Diploma of Industrial Automation. The successful completion of his Advanced Diploma led to him complete an EIT Graduate Diploma in Project Management where he completed his Masters of Engineering (Industrial Automation) program and most recently a Professional Certificate of Competency in Practical Python for Engineers and Technicians.

All this has been valuable knowledge in his work at a university because he’s able to understand the needs of his students while being one himself. It also gave him a valuable edge in terms of leadership skills where he looks wide when researching to aid students at work.

“All the information isn’t always in textbooks, sometimes you have to see other approaches.”

The latest additions to his academic career are something that created a confluence between his professional job, how he aims to help students and how he approaches his studies.

To get to a place where there are bridges impactful between your profession and studies you need a lot of support, and Helmut thinks that’s where EIT excels thanks to LSO support.

“Paul Celenza (College Manager at EIT) has been an absolute ambassador for EIT’s methodology. When you start to complete a course online your life continues and with his help, I always knew what I needed to do or how I fit into the course.”

Helmut says that when he started to study it was a ball he needed to keep in the air, and as a result, he found a steadfast routine that allowed him to work in the necessary times to allocate for course work, on top of having a personal and professional life.

Having an allocated LSO meant that he always knew what he needed to do in terms of his EIT work, which made it easier to figure out those other areas.

“I’d advise students to draw up a spreadsheet and find out exactly when and where you have time for everything.”

Due to Covid-19 Helmut works in hybrid education where students have to use online and contact education to complete their work. Having an EIT mindset made this a breeze because he understood the self-motivation required to work online. Traditional education offers more peer support while completing anything online means you are in charge of the work.

“My experience with EIT showed me how valuable it is by allowing students who might be doing a qualification later in life, or how it opens the doors to students who live remotely to still have academic access, whether they’re doing a short course or a degree.”

However, except for LSO support, for Helmut, it’s always been important to thank the people in his life that allowed him to study – and that includes his employer.

“They need acknowledgement because they root for you to succeed, and when you’re studying alone they make the difference,” he says.

The greatest thing about his approach to lifelong learning however is the way it opened a door for him to communicate with his son.

“As adults and with engineering as a common thread we could speak on deeper levels with each other.”

Engineering also connects Helmut to the world, because as an engineer he has to know how the world works – and as a result, he sees engineering everywhere.

That also keeps him humble, because not only can he see there’s still so much to do – but he is part of a profession where he has to find practical solutions for theoretical ideas, likely for the rest of his life.

On 24 June EIT is hosting a webinar on the intricacies of lifelong study in the field of engineering. Hosted by Indumathi V (Deputy Dean of EIT) and Caroline Patterson (EIT Compliance, Accreditation and Admissions Manager) the webinar will provide you with more information on study pathways at EIT, articulation options and admission requirements.

You can begin your journey with EIT fresh off secondary education, or if you have been working in the industry. EIT will enable you to formalize your work experience - for career advancement, or help you upskill in this industry where technologies and workplace needs are constantly evolving. During the webinar you will also be given the opportunity to hear from our current students. They will share their insight into their study journey and how it has assisted them in their engineering career.

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