Finding joy in engines

WHAT does a day in the life of a "travelling toolbox" look like?

I have a very interesting job that takes me all over Africa repairing diesel engines, but every day is different and you must be ready for something new.

One day might include being in the office giving technical assistance over the phone or electronic media, attending meetings, doing online training and researching or attending training courses.

It might also include making travel arrangements and travelling to doing a job on different machinery, plant or equipment in different applications in different places, environments and countries.

Why did you decide on this career?

I was always fascinated by engineering and engines when I was growing up, so my destiny was to end up somewhere in the engineering field.

The rest of it is really being in the career discovering the opportunities and exploring and further developing yourself in the field.

Through the years and experiences my passion grew and having been inspired by the beauty and evolution of technology I really cannot see myself doing anything else.

How did you get into this career?

I did an automotive engineering course after high school and completed a comprehensive full-time apprenticeship programme.

Afterwards I had various posts in different companies and fields.

The beauty of the modern day world is the unlimited freedom of career paths and development. What's challenging about the job?

The biggest challenge is that you have to be prepared for anything. Some problems are easy to solve and some can be challenging, especially if it is the first time you encounter that type of problem or if you realise that you are not properly equipped to solve the problem.

You have to be proactive, resourceful and decisive.

The other challenges are language barriers. I often work with people who don't speak or understand my language and vice- ersa. You have to keep up with developments in the field all the time.

What do you love most about being a "travelling toolbox"?

I enjoy travelling to different countries and parts of the world and meeting different people and experiencing different cultures and environments.

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

Anyone who has the passion and ability to make the best of any given situation and environment, with the capability to adapt and deal with people of different cultures and backgrounds will be successful.

You must be resourceful, patient and be willing to learn nonstop.

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

Maths and science will come highly recommended. Every subject from school will find its relevance at some point in modern-day careers. In any engineering-related career maths and science, however, are very essential.

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

An engineering course and completion of a comprehensive apprenticeship programme.

What growth prospects are there for this career?

The growth prospects are unlimited and dependent on individual preference of what one would like to end up being - among others, a manager, an engineer or a specialist - as long as you keep your options open.

What career opportunities exist for someone who has studied in your field?

The career opportunities are always there and once you identify with and become part of an organisation that does not limit your individual growth the opportunities are there as long as engineering lives.

The knowledge and experience that one gains does not limit the options of what one decides to become.