Engineering the future

Dumisani Mkhize. 19/10/2009. © Unknown.
Dumisani Mkhize. 19/10/2009. © Unknown.

WHAT does a day in the life of an engineering head of maintenance entail?

WHAT does a day in the life of an engineering head of maintenance entail?

I analyse any breakdowns of the process plant, monitor plant performance through reports received from the foreman and liaise with the production department to determine what has been scheduled for production.

Why did you decide on this career?

Since I was a child I wanted to be an engineer. During my career I realised that to be an engineer you not only had to be technically skilled but you also had to be able to work with people.

Being an extrovert by nature, this is the part of my job that I enjoy - the combination of engineering aspects combined with the interaction with people.

How did you get into this career?

I studied for a National Diploma in Electrical Engineering at the Mangosuthu University of Technology and worked as an instrument technician for three years.

After that I was promoted to senior instrument technician.

Through hard work I was promoted yet again to a production environment as a process overseer.

This was a management role and required that the person have an understanding of and experience in both engineering and production.

What is challenging about the job?

The different tasks that form part of my duties: I am always busy with engineering, personnel and financial issues for the department.

What do you enjoy the most about it?

I enjoy completing a project that was initiated by me and also mentoring junior staff.

What type of person will make a success of this position?

Over and above the technical skills and knowledge, one needs to be an outgoing person with high levels of emotional maturity.

What subjects do you need to pass in high school to be able to study towards this career?

Maths and science are prerequisites for university or technikon entry.

What does one study at tertiary level to be able to get into this career?

Electrical, mechanical or industrial engineering.

What growth prospects are there for this career?

There are many growth prospects in this career, it depends on the individual - do you want to manage or work in the plant?

What career opportunities exist for a head of maintenance?

You can fill the role of maintenance manager, engineering manager or plant manager, depending on your career speciality.

What is the starting salary for a head of maintenance?

It depends on your background and experience. But the average salary would be R500000-plus a year.