We recently spoke to Muhammad, tutor for our Level 6 Diploma in Engineering – Civil programme. Muhammad is passionate about three water systems design, the implications of climate change, and the current and future water issues New Zealand is facing.
With over ten years’ experience in three waters system industry, both in research and teaching roles, Muhammad is well equipped to prepare students with the skills to tackle the most pressing issues in the industry.
What is your position and what do you teach?
I am a Senior Academic Staff Member (SASM)/Engineering Tutor who teaches the Level 6 Diploma in Engineering - Civil. I love to train and prepare young engineers to work in New Zealand's councils for their water, wastewater, and stormwater teams – often known as the three water systems teams.
As you are aware, our beloved homeland is experiencing frequent flash floods, a shortage of freshwater, and an increase in the wastewater, thus needing three water system engineers, three water system technicians and engineering assistants to address these issues and facilitate our country's adaptability to the implications of climate change.
What are the main components of the programme?
Whitireia and WelTec|Te Pūkenga offers a two-year Level 6 Diploma in Engineering - Civil, providing skills-based education focusing on three water systems, structures, geotechnical engineering, roading, land surveying, civil engineering construction practices, material (civil), and civil and structural drawing.
To facilitate learners developing a foundation in engineering, we offer basic courses such as engineering fundamentals, engineering maths, technical literacy, engineering practice, engineering CAD, mechanics and materials (civil), as well as some core Level 5 civil engineering courses during their first year.
Core Level 6 civil engineering papers are offered in the second year to help students develop skills in an organized manner. Throughout their studies, practical opportunities are provided in class for learners to practice these skills, so they’re well prepared to enter the workforce.
An important feature of this Diploma is the two practical skills-based papers, Engineering Management and Engineering Project, where students investigate practical problems individually and try to provide additional value to engineering.
The Level 6 Diploma in Engineering is an accredited educational programme under the Dublin Accord which means that the graduates do not need to do any further education in European countries.
What sort of skills do you teach ākonga studying civil engineering?
Whitireia and WelTec prepares young engineers to address various issues being faced by New Zealand, such as three water systems design and geotechnical investigations required before building foundations of structures. We equip them with the skills to be structural designers or site supervisors, teach them how to survey properties or subdivisions to create spaces for living and entertainment, and to act as a consent assistant for council projects.
There is an acute shortage of civil engineering technicians in the field currently, which requires Te Pūkenga to train and produce more engineers and engineering technicians.
What do you enjoy most about teaching?
I love to help New Zealand address the three water systems issues, which are impacting us due to the implications of climate change. As we know, water is a lifeline for humans and the need for drinking water will soon increase due to the growth of the population. That may put us in an awkward situation if not attended to on time.
I love to investigate new ways and means to relieve pressure on our freshwater bodies, such as water conservation strategies, recycling of stormwater and treated wastewater for toilet flushing, landscape irrigation, car washing, etc.
I also love to work on projects for keeping our beaches neat and clean, for sporting purposes as well as to protect the ecology. I love to investigate new water and wastewater treatment technologies to keep our country clean and ensure the provision of healthy drinking water for the public. One of my interests is to improve the engineering infrastructure for water, wastewater and stormwater. Whitireia and WelTec has the infrastructure for preparing young engineers to learn these skills.
What's your experience in the area?
I worked in the three waters system industry for more than 10 years, in both New Zealand and overseas, which included World Bank assisted mega projects in developing countries. I did my PhD in three water systems from Japan's top 4th University, Hokkaido University, and top 4th famous research group of Onsite Wastewater Treatment System. I also served various international universities as Post Doctoral Researcher and Research Assistant Professor for around 5 years.
Since 2017 I have been teaching and doing research in a number of New Zealand’s institutions such as Southern Institute of Technology Invercargill, Otago Polytechnic (future skills campus), International College of Auckland, and Whitireia and WelTec.
What career opportunities are there for graduates?
Graduates can find opportunities for engineering assistant and engineering technicians in various councils, as well as engineering consultants and engineering contractors anywhere in New Zealand. Demand is currently high so there is plenty of opportunities.
The graduates can also pursue the Bachelor of Engineering and Technology (Level 7) at any polytechnic of Te Pūkenga, or Bachelor of Engineering Degree (Level 7) at universities.
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