S.E.T. for socio-economic growth
Benedikt matriculated at the Alexander Road High School in Port Elizabeth, in the Eastern Cape. The school was established on 24 January 1955, with 155 pupils and five teachers. In 2013, the school was placed 15th in the top secondary schools category in SA by the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation. Asked about why he decided to study engineering, Benedikt explains that, through most of his time at school he didn’t have any clear ideas on what he wanted to do. “Towards the end of my high-school career I was still clueless as to what I should do the following year,” he says. “I seriously considered studying music or taking a gap year, but I realised that while I love music, making it my job would not make for a reliable career and I would enjoy it less if I had to rely upon music for an income.”
Benedikt says his brother, who is finishing his Master’s degree in theoretical physics, has always been his role model. “I decided a degree in a science would not be a bad place to start. I chose engineering specifically because the idea of being creative and scientific at the same time appeals to me.”
Benedikt makes it clear that long hours of studying are not the only way to succeed. “In matric I secured the marks that I did, not by studying endless hours into the night, but by making sure that before I left any classroom I understood what was taught in that lesson. This way when it came to studying for finals, I didn’t have the problem of trying to understand new concepts,” he explains.
Mechatronic engineering is concerned with the design of automated machines. It is strongly based on a combination of mechanical, electronics and software engineering, but is a distinctly different discipline to all three. Mechatronics engineering differs from automation engineering in that its practitioners have a deep understanding of the performance analysis and design of complex machines. It differs from mechanical engineering in that its practitioners understand how automations can be designed and integrated into a machine very effectively to achieve an outcome. www.engineersaustralia.org.au
The Faculty of Engineering at Stellenbosch University is one of South Africa’s major producers of top quality engineers. Established in 1944, the Faculty is housed in a large complex of buildings with modern facilities. It has excellent teaching facilities and research laboratories. The Faculty has approximately 3 800 students, of whom approximately 2 900 are undergraduate and 900 postgraduate.
Benedikt plans to finish his engineering degree, after which he’d like to do a Master’s, with the hope of eventually joining the force which is rebuilding the SA rail network.