IDC- Online News

  1. Student Story: Roslyn Rountree

    Roslyn Rountree is an Engineering Institute of Technology graduate who is obtaining a second qualification through the institute while working in the biomedical engineering field.

    She completed her 52810WA - Advanced Diploma in Mechanical in 2018. She is now working through EIT’s 52705WA - Advanced Diploma in Biomedical Engineering program.

    Her daily responsibilities include ensuring that medical equipment is working correctly, efficiently, and — most importantly — in a safe manner. Her job is two-pronged because she has to ensure both patient and hospital staff can use the biomedical devices.

    “My industry has multiple areas in which it cares for people,” she said.

    “All of which are continually growing and developing every day, not only to improve patient care but also to improve how patient care is implemented.”

    Rosyln’s journey has been everything but traditional. Her career initially began in agriculture. After graduating high school, she enrolled at Emerald Agricultural College. She acquired her Diploma in Beef Cattle and a Diploma in Rural Business Management.

    After graduating from Agricultural college, Roslyn spent eleven years working in the mechanical engineering world. She found jobs as trade assistants in a few different mining companies and completed an apprenticeship as a diesel fitter. Worryingly, the jobs market within the mining industry was sluggish at the time Roslyn was looking for more work.

    “I had experienced the roller-coaster of the mining industry more than three times,” she said.

    “The last time left me looking for any job I could get my hands on as it was hard to find work within my industry at the time. On a whim and with a lot of doubts in my own abilities, I had applied for a mechanical cadetship with Biomedical Technology Services within Queensland Health.”

    The cadetship saw Roslyn having to relocate from Mackay in Queensland to Brisbane in the same state. In Brisbane, she learned about surgical instruments at a workshop.

    “This is where I learned multiple aspects of not only design but shaping techniques and a lot of hands-on skills from my mentor. A part of the cadetship was that I was required to study and gain an Advanced Diploma in Mechanical Engineering, which was through EIT.”

    Once she graduated from the Mechanical Engineering program, not only did she gain the recognition as a Biomedical Mechanical Technician, she also felt a strong sense of accomplishment. Roslyn felt that learning theory was never her strong suit — she was more of a hands-on learner. During the course, she found EIT’s unique online training methodology, which combines theoretical and practical skill-building, was a better fit for her and helped her become a student of her trade.

    After gaining insight and skills in the industry, she was ready to begin branching out and going cross-disciplinary. And as luck would have it, the branching out would take her to where her heart was: home.

    “I was given the opportunity to apply for a transfer into the electrical medical aspect. If successful, I would be able to move back home to Mackay. Being successful in gaining the transfer, I was to study with EIT again to gain an Advanced Diploma in Biomedical Engineering.”

    By April 2020, she will have completed her qualification. As her career matures, she predicts she will always have to have a finger on the pulse of what the biomedical industry is doing.

    “Within the next five years, I will be looking forward to growing my knowledge on the workings of more specialized medical devices. You never stop learning in the medical industry, as there is always going to be new equipment, new upgrades, and continued development. So I am looking forward to seeing the growth in the years to come.”

    Roslyn is now a living testament that with EIT and the determination to achieve in the engineering industry, one can take on many different roles in several different disciplines. She said EIT has assisted in facilitating her shifts between engineering disciplines.

    “The engineering industry does not fit in a square box — there are so many angles and opportunities in the engineering world. Coming from a hands-on background, it allows me to use the skills in a different way and view things differently. There is no limit to where these types of industries can take you, within your own country, or even those traveling across the world.”

  2. The engineers of the future

    Technology is rapidly transforming the world of work. Traditional curricula in tertiary education institutions must change with the times to better prepare graduates for the technologies they will need to utilize once they enter the workforce. Likewise, students are wondering what roles they might have post-graduation, as the job landscape is continually evolving with automation.

    Australia’s Institute Centre for Future Work agrees that students might enter roles that their degrees have not prepared them for. They conduct economic research on work, employment, and labor markets, and believe that educational institutions need to begin evolving their offerings to cater to the skills of the future within the majority of industries.

    “Individuals with university degrees are more likely to be employed, to have more stable jobs, and to be paid more,” they stated in their report.

    “But this relative advantage enjoyed by university graduates does not negate the fact that employment conditions have become much more challenging even for graduates. Rates of graduate employment in full-time work are down significantly over the past decade, and there is evidence of a growing mismatch and underutilization of university graduates in positions that do not fully or even partly utilize their hard-won knowledge and skills.”

    Prospective engineers are, therefore, being encouraged to step out into cross-disciplinary avenues of the engineering world to make themselves as attractive to the workforce as possible. As a result, recent graduate engineers report that obtaining first-time employment has been swift.

    Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QUILT) provides prospective students with relevant and transparent information about Australian higher education institutions from the perspective of recent students and graduates. They reported in 2016 that 83.1% of engineering graduates found work in the first four months after graduation.

    In 2017, QILT conducted further research and found that engineering graduates were the highest in demand in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) industries. They found that 79% percent of engineering graduates surveyed had successfully found full-time employment.

    Worryingly, in Australia, the sciences (natural, physical, biological, and medical) had the highest number of graduates but had the lowest percentage of graduates in full-time work at only 57%.

    Australia Institute’s Center for Future Work says that in their findings, generalist degrees are becoming less useful in the world of work in the future. They do note, however, that the literacy skills attained from those kinds of courses are beneficial in a world of engineering expansion where smart machines and artificial intelligence are replacing menial tasks, and demanding more creative output from the employee.

    “In an age of disruption and growing demand for critical, abstract and human-led inquiry, the knowledge acquired through university degrees will be crucial to the future economy,” they state.

    “In Australia, degrees have an enduring and growing importance as job market entry qualifications; 32% of all jobs worked in May 2018 required a bachelor’s degree or higher qualification, and this share is projected to increase by one percentage point to 33% of all jobs by 2023.”

    Source: Australia Institute Center for Future Work

    Globalization and digitization are warping the industries of education and training, and the world of work. The Engineering Institute of Technology’s programs are designed by an international body of industry experts, ensuring students graduate with cutting-edge skills that are valued by employers around the world. The program content remains current with rapidly changing technology to best prepare students for the workplace.

    We offer industry-focused short courses and accredited diplomas, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees related to specific engineering fields, one of which is industrial automation. Our industrial automation programs marry electrical engineering with mechanical engineering and aim to prepare students for the jobs of the future.

    Our short courses, called Professional Certificates of Competency, are designed to upskill engineers who already work within the industry. We provide professional development in specific areas, so they can further enhance their skills and continuing learning throughout their careers.

    Our diplomas and advanced diplomas are vocational programs that deliver practical knowledge and aim to enhance the skills of people who come from a trade background and want to progress their career. Our degrees are designed to give our students both theoretical and practical knowledge required to enter the engineering world. Like all Australian higher education providers and universities, EIT programs are accredited by the exacting standards of the Australian Government’s Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA). Many of our degrees are recognized under international engineering accords.

    Our unique online delivery model is designed to allow students to study from anywhere in the world while balancing life and work commitments. It makes use of live and interactive tutorials, an international pool of expert lecturers, dedicated learning support officers, and state-of-the-art technologies such as hands-on workshops, remote laboratories, and simulation software. Our supportive blended learning model and small class sizes encourage our students to advance their technical knowledge and remain engaged in their studies while forming global networks

    Future and current engineers can be confident in the fact that the industry will continue to grow, but they must also be cognizant that they might end up a field they were never expecting to be in. That reality is beginning to define the future of work.

     

    Works Cited

    Pennington, Alison, and Jim Stanford. “The Future of Work for Australian Graduates.” APO, Centre for Future Work, 22 Oct. 2019, apo.org.au/node/264441?utm_source=APO-feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=rss-research.

    Winsor, John. “The Future Of Work Will Be Uniquely Human.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 23 Oct. 2019, www.forbes.com/sites/johnwinsor/2019/10/21/the-future-of-work-will-be-uniquely-human/#73a1a96416b7.

    “The University Degrees You SHOULDN'T Be Doing If You Want to Get a Job in Australia after Graduation.” Daily Mail Online, Associated Newspapers, 22 Oct. 2019, www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7600247/The-university-degrees-SHOULDNT-doing-want-job-Australia-graduation.html.

  3. The art of relocating

    On a Tuesday morning in late October, Danish engineers engaged in a risky and costly rescue operation to move one of Denmark’s most beloved landmarks. The Rubjerg Knude Fyr lighthouse was first lit in 1900 and is the Danish north coast’s jewel and a national treasure. However, due to coastal erosion, engineers have said the tourist attraction needed to be relocated.

    The 76-foot tall lighthouse was 656 feet away from the coast when first lit in 1900. Each year, the sand dune has been eroding by approximately two meters. Before the relocation, the lighthouse was just 20 feet away from plummeting into the ocean.

    As a consequence, the local government contracted local engineers to try and save the structure.

    Engineers drew up plans to move the 720-tonne lighthouse in a way that would not compromise its structural integrity. The idea was to move the structure 70 feet away from its original position.

    Source: Zairon/Wikimedia

    The mayor of the Hjorring Municipality said that many things could go wrong when moving the now unmanned lighthouse, but deemed it a risk worth taking.

    The lighthouse was switched off in 1968, and soon after, it was converted into a museum documenting the effects of sand drift. Still, the tower reportedly attracts up to 250,000 people per year.

    It is positioned on a gigantic sand dune on the western island of Jutland, atop a cliff that is 200 feet above sea level. A church building has already been deconstructed due to coastal erosion in the same region.

    Engineers, however, did not think dismantling the lighthouse would be the best way forward. Therefore, they decided that the building would have to be moved atop a set of rails. They inserted the beams into the base of the structure and lifted it. They kept it lifted atop of the tracks and moved it along with the help of hydraulic jacks.

    The engineers expected the move to last ten hours because they could only move 26 feet per hour. However, the process went much faster. The engineers initially thought the lighthouse would weigh 1,000 tonnes and be harder to move, but once they began work they found out it only weighed 720 tonnes.

    “We could not go faster than 12 meters an hour because they needed to calibrate the hydraulics. It’s in sand and you need to ensure it runs well on two rails,” local builder Kjeld Petersen, who assisted the engineers in the lighthouse operation told the BBC.

    The lighthouse move cost the local government only US $750,000. The move had been planned for a year and a half, and the entire prepping and relocation took ten weeks. The engineers are confident that the lighthouse should not be in too much danger due to erosion for the next forty years.

     

    Works Cited

    Associated Press. “Danish Workers Moved a 120-Year-Old Lighthouse before It Could Topple over the Side of a Sand Dune Cliff.” Insider, Insider, 22 Oct. 2019, www.insider.com/denmark-moves-120-year-old-lighthouse-because-of-erosion-2019-10.

    “Danish Rubjerg Lighthouse Moved Inland on Skates.” BBC News, BBC, 22 Oct. 2019, www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-50139900?ocid=socialflow_twitter.

  4. Predicting and preventing climate events to save bridges

    Could climate change prediction models and regional data collected by cities help ensure the safety of infrastructure in the future? Securing infrastructure like bridges and making them weatherproof is pretty important work. However, with more extreme weather events predicted for the future, how can engineers be sure their bridges will stay standing?

    Engineers have life-cycle projections for bridges they have constructed. Although in a world threatened by more fierce climate events, the life cycle of bridges could be under threat. Predictive and preventative maintenance on bridges could be done in a much more informed manner if engineers were aware of future climate events and how those events could damage the structural integrity of bridges.

    Source: Penndot

    A less predictable threat to the structural integrity of bridges is scour. Scour is the erosion of soil around the foundation of a bridge caused by fast-moving water underneath it —typically during floods.

    Scour is the most significant contributing factor to bridge failure in the United States. According to Ayres Associates, 82% of the 600,000 bridges in the National Bridge Inventory in the United States are built over waterways. With more and more climate events occurring globally, the likelihood of flooding, and in turn, scour increases.

    As a consequence, engineering bodies are looking to academia to assess the impact of climate change on bridge safety. Lehigh University, a private research university in Pennsylvania, has put researchers David Yang and Dan M. Frangopol on the case.

    The two researchers have published a paper in the ASCE Journal of Bridge Engineering under the title: ‘Physics-Based Assessment of Climate Change Impact on Long-Term Regional Bridge Scour Risk Using Hydrological Modeling: Application to Lehigh River Watershed.’

    Research associate in civil and environmental engineering at P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science, and co-author of the report, David Yang, said, “We know climate change will increase the frequency and intensity of natural hazards like hurricanes, heatwaves, wildfires, and extreme rains.

    “For this paper, we’re looking at increased temperature as well as increased precipitation and their impact on bridge safety. The challenge here was that we didn’t know how to quantify those impacts to predict scour risk.”

    Therefore, the researchers looked to climate data to see if they could produce a predictable model for structural safety in the face of climate events.

    “We took a holistic approach. It started with a global climate model that was downscaled to regional hydrology. Then we used structural engineering to get the failure probability of a structure in a future flooding event,” Yang explained.

    “From that, we could assess: does this structure failure pose certain risks to a community? So our model included these four steps of climatology, hydrology, structural engineering, and risk assessment.”

    They conducted research and developed their own model by using flow discharge measurements in their local river, the Lehigh. They inserted global climate models as developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and added historical bridge foundation depth data in their local river, provided by the National Bridge Inventory. What they found was that flooding was becoming more common, and doubling in frequency as time went on.

    The question now is how to export this model for other regions and make it useful for the engineering industry as a whole. Engineers will be better equipped to mitigate risk and plan for disaster far better than in the past with these kinds of models.

    “You need to know the location of the bridge. For some communities, the failure of a bridge could be disastrous. For others, a bridge may not be as critical,” Dan M. Frangopol, an affiliate of Lehigh’s Institute for Data, Intelligent Systems, and Computation (I-DISC) said.

    “This model helps you make that kind of decision because risk is not only based on safety but also on the consequence of failure. You might have two bridges at the same probability of failure, but the consequences of that failure could be very different.”

    Civil and structural engineers can be sure that there will be more data-driven mechanisms that challenge their safety checks and balances in the future. With historic trends and future prediction models combined, there will be no running away from establishing meticulous safety procedures on bridges (their foundations in particular) and other infrastructure.

     

    Works Cited

    “Predicting the Impact of Climate Change on Bridge Safety.” ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily, 9 Oct. 2019, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191009075326.htm.

    “What Is Bridge Scour? Why Should You Care?” Ayres Associates, 13 Sept. 2018, www.ayresassociates.com/bridge-scour-care/.

  5. Student Story: Hendru Coetzer

    Hendru Coetzer is an Engineering Institute of Technology graduate who completed the 52726WA - Advanced Diploma of Applied Electrical Engineeringin May 2016. It has been a twelve-year journey for Hendru, as he endeavored to learn everything he could about the engineering industry across the world.

    From a young age, Hendru was obsessed with the engineering industry.

    “It all started at a young age, where I used to either work with my father in his workshop or trying to assist his team at the tender age of 13. It’s in my blood. I still call my dad on a daily basis to assist with the most technical questions out there. Also, there is a certain smell to greased overalls and uncomfortable safety shoes which simply keeps me coming back for more.”

    His first job was as a Junior Construction Manager at a low-cost housing project, where he began to save money in hopes that he could fund his future studies. He enrolled at a NECSA (the Nuclear Energy Corporation) training facility, which saw him develop his skills as an electrician, and millwright.

    After his training, he found it particularly hard to find a job, which he needed in order to qualify for a trade test. Many months went by with no luck, but eventually he succeeded. He joined a small group of technicians at SASKO Bakeries in Johannesburg. Hendru says, due to restrictions, he was not able to get placement as an apprentice and was instead employed as a general worker with a minimal salary —and the hours were long too.

    After working his shifts at the bakeries, he had enough hours to qualify. However, to take the trade test, he would have to take time off work, and he had not saved up enough money to do so. He also didn’t know if he would be prepared enough for it. He was stuck in between a rock and a hard place. Consequently, he decided to pack his bags and move to Doha in Qatar for work.

    In Qatar, Hendru worked in a major mechanical, electrical, and plumbing company named Arabain MEP. For two and a half years he was an Electrical & Mechanical Coordinator on large scale projects. While he was employed, he still had a niggling feeling that he should further his education so that he could ensure success in his career.

    “After completing my apprenticeship as an electrician, I wanted to increase my knowledge on an international level and found that EIT courses were the best suitable. On the platform, I found so many industry experts transferring their years of knowledge and experience through each module covered. And, because I had this course assessed successfully by SAQA (The South African Qualifications Authority), it proves the weight this qualification holds once completed.”

    During this time, Hendru’s contact ended in Qatar, and instead of getting another job there, he decided to move back to South Africa to see friends and family again. He found a job in the Western Cape on a restoration project for the South African Police headquarters and a medical center. He also went full circle when he went back to South Africa — he completed his trade test. Equipped with new knowledge and skills from EIT, he says, he found the trade test to be one of the easiest exams he had ever taken.

    “I truly felt the value of my advanced diploma that day. My employers reacted well to the qualification too. The course work gives you a good practical approach, which employers appreciate. You still need to prove that you are eligible to do the work and meet the high expectations that come with this qualification.”

    Hendru’s obsession with engineering and working in the industry has seen him and his wife go to Sri Lanka and New Zealand, but eventually they decided to settle back in Qatar with their newborn daughter. He currently works at the Qatar Primary Materials Company (QPMC) and is in charge of mechanical equipment maintenance. His daily responsibilities include:

    • Developing, modifying, testing, and evaluating all mechanical plant equipment.
    • Providing technical advice about the suitability of materials and diagnosing faults.
    • Advising on, planning and organizing inspections, maintenance, and repairs.
    • Overseeing operational quality control processes and liaising with suppliers, customers, and manufacturing/development staff.
    • Supervising the engineering and technical staff.

    Hendru Coetzer is a prime example of an EIT student. He is dedicated, equipping himself with a spectrum of skills in a multidisciplinary approach to engineering. He is a lifelong learner who is giving himself skills while balancing a family and working life at the same time. We are proud to call him an alumnus of the Engineering Institute of Technology and wish him further successes in his career.

Go to top