on December 6th, 2023

Engineering Institute of Technology (EIT) student Lorien Chettiar shares his experience of moving to Vietnam and how his acquired skills apply to his work at NSRP Petrochemical Refinery.

Lorien Chettiar: Online Advanced Diplomas, Working Abroad, and Aspirations

Originally from Durban, South Africa, and now working for a company in Vietnam, Lorien Chettiar, tells us about the advantages of choosing EIT for his engineering education.

He also touches on the determination and focus it takes to pursue a 52873WA Advanced Diploma of Civil and Structural Engineering not long after completing the 52884WA Advanced Diploma of Mechanical Engineering Technology.

Furthermore, Chettiar imparts valuable insights and advice for budding engineering enthusiasts and highlights the convenience of online learning for working engineers wanting to upskill.

Lorien Chettiar: EIT student

Why did you choose EIT to pursue your specific coursework?

I was informed by my colleagues that the entire course was online, which I was very interested in due to working a full-time eight-to-five job. The convenience of attending online lectures has worked with my busy schedule and enabled me to study at night and complete the necessary research and assignments.

Can you share your experience with online studying at EIT?

The platform was easily accessible from anywhere, so I was able to attend lectures during lunch times. This was a great advantage as my work schedule also expects me to travel to different locations. So, I was still able to complete my quizzes and assignments on time. There were also lectures uploaded onto the platform if I was unable to attend so I could just go back and rewatch them to catch up.

What motivated you to focus on both mechanical engineering technology and civil and structural engineering? How do these disciplines complement each other in your current role or future career goals?

After completing my mechanical engineering, I proceeded to study for my master’s in construction. I realized that I am very strong in the construction field, however, I lacked the required skills in civil and structural engineering. I then found out that EIT offers a comprehensive course in this field and decided to study again. Having both these skills and knowledge compliments my master’s in construction and will enable me to run major projects in both mechanical and civil engineering construction fields.

Have you had the opportunity to utilize EIT’s remote labs for practical applications and how has that enhanced your understanding of the coursework?

Using the remote labs assisted me in completing many of the practical assignments. It has also given me the skills and practical ability to use engineering applications which I now use in my daily duties in designing welding details and critical method statements.

Could you describe your role at NSRP Petrochemical Refinery and how your qualifications from EIT contribute to your effectiveness?

My current role is welding engineer and welding coordinator expert. I was brought here to implement ISO 3834-2 and mentor the local welding engineers and welding inspectors. The welding engineering team is responsible for all welding activities onsite and provides welding engineering support on various equipment such as pressure equipment, tanks, piping, etc. EIT has contributed to expanding my knowledge on understanding the way mechanical equipment is designed and operated.

Balancing work, home, and studies can be challenging. How do you manage your time effectively to meet the demands of your job and complete your coursework?

Don’t leave your tasks for the last minute otherwise, you end up burning the midnight oil. Studying and working at the same time can be pretty stressful. At times you might feel you cannot complete the tasks at hand, however, once you do, the feeling that comes at the end is extremely great. Always prioritize and tackle one task at a time.

In what ways have your qualifications positively impacted your career at NSRP Petrochemical Refinery?

There are many modules from mechanical engineering technology that I use in my daily tasks. In the petrochemical field, I conduct daily repairs on safety-critical high-pressure vessels, piping, and tanks. Understanding the way this equipment is designed and operated is the basis before attempting any repair, especially when the equipment is live. The refinery is a dangerous place, and you need to always understand and repair to the best of your ability as people work around your repairs.

Have you faced any unique challenges or opportunities working in Vietnam? How has the international aspect of your career influenced your perspective on engineering and your personal development?

Coming from South Africa I have had to embrace a cultural change. I would have to say the language barrier. However, the Vietnamese people are friendly and very helpful. Working in Vietnam’s largest petrochemical refinery and assisting in completing their first successful major turnaround has significantly boosted my career and prepared me for my future assignments.

As someone with experience in both mechanical engineering technology and civil and structural engineering, what advice do you have for students considering a similar dual focus?

In today’s current economy it is really difficult to find work and having a dual qualification allows you to have more flexibility in the working environment. Employers always want the best employees with the right skill set and of course, the experience that goes with it.

Considering your journey from Durban, South Africa, to working in Vietnam, what advice do you have for aspiring engineering students looking to build a successful international career?

Stay positive, work hard, and make it happen. These are the words I live by. Over the years I have noticed that people get complacent and stop striving for more. However, I am very different. I always try to push myself and achieve the impossible. I ensure that every year I study something to improve my knowledge and always try to stand out from others.

At the end of the day, if you want it, you must put in the hard work and in time the hard work will benefit you. Lastly, I have had the honor of having a great mentor who has guided me and pushed me. I am where I am today because of him, and I would like to extend a thank you to Mr. Donovan Govender.

Engineering Institute of Technology