From Learner Electrician to Mechatronics Technician: Exploring the Possibilities
AbstractThis paper looks at the possibility of adapting the typical electrician or electrical technician training programme to that of a typical mechatronics technician. The study briefly looks at the necessary theory and some practical requirements for mechatronics technicians gleaned from the point of view of an electrician who has fulfilled the basic requirements of a diploma in electrical engineering. Mechatronics being a relatively new field of engineering may seem unattainable to new entrants into the field. Many learners who are on their way to become certificated (registered) electricians have passed the necessary theory subjects but are unable to easily obtain the required practical training. It may take many months for such learners to find an apprenticeship, internship or on-the-job training. When funding is available costs for training may be excessive and the quality of training may be questionable. Under conditions of high youth unemployment and few job opportunities, learner electricians may equip themselves with the necessary mechatronics skills to enter the job market of mechatronics technician. This paper wishes to answer the following questions: Can a learner electrician upgrade their skills to become a mechatronics technician? What skills are common between a learner electrician and a mechatronics technician? In an environment of scarce resources and underfunding for training is it possible to acquire the necessary mechatronics skills from self-learning and internet access? What mechatronics skills can be gleaned from exposure to typical machinery found in the household and local community? With the advancement of technology and exposure to remote laboratories what opportunities are available for the certification of mechatronics technicians? Within the mechatronics engineering landscape what are some of the innovation and entrepreneurial opportunities available in the context of the continent?
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