December 11th, 2013

First NZ Diploma in Engineering Practice awarded

It’s not easy being a trail-blazer. But try being a trail-blazer with a young family, a full-time management position and a three hour commute. The good news is that Kevin Ironside survived this particular tour of duty and came out the other end with his Diploma in Engineering Practice (NZDEP) – the first awarded in New Zealand.

Kevin’s not new to engineering. Having first qualified as a fitter turner, the 43 year old had built up significant experience over his years in the trade in project management, staffing, quoting and running jobs, and in managing engineering operations in the Bay of Plenty.

Now employed with Conveyor Industries, a manufacturer of customised conveyor systems, Kevin is looking forward to being officially recognised by the Institute of Professional Engineers New Zealand and being able to use the CertETn title.

Kevin first heard about the Diploma in Engineering Practice when he was finishing off his national diploma. Interested in taking his study even further, Kevin discovered the brand new qualification was not yet finalised. But with characteristic determination, Kevin was first in line to sign up to this internationally recognised qualification.

‘I was managing a machine shop at the time and travelled to Hamilton to study on Monday, worked Tuesday, up again 5am on Wednesday and back to Hamilton, working on Thursday and another 5am start on Friday to study from 8 until 12 and then back to Tauranga to work Friday afternoon.’ After the first semester Kevin’s partner told him things had to change, so Kevin resigned from his job and took up study full time.

‘It took about a week and a half before the whites of my eyes returned,’ he laughs. Kevin is pleased he put the effort into the course. Not only was he awarded top student in his final year but he learned a lot to help him directly on the job. ‘I got a lot out of it. What surprised me about the course is that it was a lot broader than I expected. We covered a lot of ground on heat transfer and fluids, it wasn’t just about stress in steels and materials. You really covered a lot of subject matter.’

While Kevin says his own sense of satisfaction was his primary motivation for undertaking the NZDEP, he believes the qualification has lent international credibility and authority to his skills. ‘A lot of people can get through the theoretical side of a qualification without necessarily a strong grip on how and when to apply it.

Out on a job they can be out of their depth. This qualification recognises my high level of theoretical knowledge and practical application. It sorts you out from the crowd.’