Video killed the radio star, but TV gave live to more engineers – so the trade-off isn't necessarily bad.

Louis Sikombwa completed a 52726WA Advanced Diploma of Applied Electrical Engineering (Power Industry) during a hard time in 2020 and 2021.

Louis Sikombwa. Picture: Supplied

However, still, it was a door-to-door repairman that ensured he stayed the course.

"An appliances technician who did door-to-door visits repairing faulty home appliances came over to my dad's house to repair our Cathode Ray Tube type television as a child."

"I was intrigued by how that tapering glass and all the small components in there would end with the motion picture on the television screen," Louis explains about his first taste of engineering.

Since then, he has only grown. He works as a Maintenance Coordinator at Debswana Diamond Company in Botswana.

In 2022 he says he’s still doing well.

“The Advanced Diploma is really coming in handy in my current job role.”

While the job is challenging, as with all work in the mining field, Louis thinks he's been able to really hone in on balancing work and life.

His daily routine is tight, but there's some wiggle room.

"After a daily morning check-in with the electricians and protection technicians, they depart to their respective sites for the day's maintenance works. There's an update meeting with the Engineers and Planning function for the coming week's maintenance plan finalization."

"Weekly standby duties allow for one to plan for the 3 weekends that they are not on duty hence there's relative ease in balancing work and life matters," he shares. 

While completing his 52726WA Advanced Diploma of Applied Electrical Engineering (Power Industry), he noticed a notable rise in his work execution quality, with heightened adherence to Industry standards and regulations.

Safety of that and his co-workers is a top priority for Louis, who contracted Covid-19 in late 2020.

"Luckily, with grace, supportive family, friends, and work structures, I pulled through the quarantine, having only experienced mild symptoms. This year also looks to be closing off on a far better note, with accelerated vaccine roll-outs in the African region," Louis shares with hope.

He's also not someone to back away from a challenge. In fact, the engineering industry is such an excellent match for this very reason. For him, each day working in the field presents a new challenge.

"It's always a fulfilling experience when solutions to these challenges are found," he mentions.

This mindset ensured a lot of trust in him, as evident by his work experiences. After completing his apprenticeship early on, Louis showed his grit – the same sort of grit you need to complete a qualification like 52726WA Advanced Diploma of Applied Electrical Engineering (Power Industry).

"I was assigned standby duties to care for the High Voltage Network during the busiest season of the year (Summer and its undesirable inclement weather) in my first year after having completed Apprenticeship training. Only later did I realize how much trust my supervisor and coach had in me to assign such a huge responsibility to me at that time."

However, one story he never wants to happen to him is also a little peek into the world of maintenance, and he shares it more as an amusing joke than a fact.

"A maintenance crew received complaint forms after a standby Genset they were in charge of failed to auto-start following a power outage. After that, the maintenance crew started carrying out weekly outage simulations to ensure the Genset automatically kicked in during power outage situations."

"The Genset responded well during the weekly simulations for a few months. One weekend, another power failure occurred, the Genset kicked in, ran for a few minutes, and stopped running. The reason? The Genset fuel had never been topped up after all the simulation runs."

To keep the clarity of mind, Louis often refuels – and in nature.

According to him, doing off-road driving in Botswana's majestic salt pans is the perfect way to recharge.

That and sliding in front of the TV screen, the same technology that ensured Louis becomes a valuable engineer.

His watch list includes Discovery Channel, History Channel, and sports channels broadcasting Moto GP and Formula 1.

His goal now is to ensure electrical power supply to his customers surpasses industry benchmarks while adhering to carbon footprint reduction statutes and energy efficiency.

An admirable trait. But it all ties back to education.

"The worst mistake one would ever make is not studying. Technology advancements and globalization dictate that one continues studying to remain relevant in not only the engineering workspace but all other professions," Louis concludes.

He wants to pursue a Bachelor’s qualification in the not-so-distant future. And with his positive attitude and engineering aptitude, this seems very much like an almost done deal.

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EIT | Engineering Institute of Technology