The role of Automotive Engineers in Fiji is crucial as students, workers and the general public rely daily on various forms of transportation to reach their destinations in a safe and timely manner.
These are the comments of Fiji National University (FNU), Department of Automotive Engineering, Assistant Lecturer, Alfred Sefeti.
Sefeti said the significance of the automotive industry is a direct reflection of the transportation sector. He said with the increase of vehicles on our roads will mean further growth in the demand to service and maintain these vehicles.
Given this scenario, Sefeti is encouraging school leavers who have an interest in motor vehicles, to explore some of the programmes offered through FNU’s College of Engineering, Science and Technology (CEST).
These programmes include Certificate III in Automotive Engineering or Certificate IV in Automotive Engineering in Light Motor Vehicle, Heavy Commercial Vehicle, Heavy Mobile Plant, Automotive Light Machinery or Diploma in Automotive Engineering.
“Automotive engineers, who are commonly referred to as mechanics in Fiji, are in high demand,” said Sefeti.
“We are being approached by automobile companies looking to recruit automotive engineers who focus on designing, manufacturing, developing, inspecting and testing motor vehicles and parts,” he added.
FNU students undergo extensive theory and practical training which enable graduates to take on various jobs in the automobile industry, including carrying out diagnostic work.
“Our graduates are trained to service and repair vehicles and their parts and systems. Their work also involves checking faults, working on engines and performing fitness checks and most importantly dealing with customers,” he said.
Graduates can take on leadership roles after gaining relevant experience or open their own businesses.
Ravnit Kumar, who is pursuing studies in Certificate IV in Automotive Engineering (Heavy Commercial Vehicle) is transforming his passion into a career while working at Vatukoula Gold Mines.
“I grew up around the automotive industry, and I can see first-hand that the job opportunities are limitless,” said Kumar.
“Mastering current technologies and working on heavy vehicles inspires me, as I can develop new ideas and understand what is new and trending in the technology area,” added the Ba man.
Kumar said the programme prepared him well, allowing him to take an in-depth look at aspects of automotive systems, such as engines types, braking systems, gearboxes and chassis systems.
“Apart from studying an advanced area of automotive engineering, I was able to develop my mathematics and project management abilities.
“I chose FNU because of the unique and intriguing structure of the programme, and now I can shape my imaginations into reality, and this is only possible because of the theoretical and practical skills I am gaining through the course,” he said.
Mohammad Sohail, 19, is studying in the Certificate IV in Automotive Engineering (Light Motor Vehicle) programme said the course is preparing him well to build basic knowledge and learn how to service automotive systems.
“So far, I have learnt the workshop safety features including correct policies, procedures and regulations required for safe and efficient operation in the workplace.
According to Sohail, studying at Ba campus is enjoyable, as staff are very helpful and knowledgeable.
“The lecturers and staff guide me at every single step, and I am so fortunate to have an opportunity to study here,” he said.
The FNU automotive courses encompass both theoretical studies and practical sessions. The final semester is a six months industrial attachment component.