Discover the career of an Operations / Mechanic Engineer working in the Energy sector, Zimbabwe
Interview with Harold Velasi, an Operations/Mechanic Engineer
What industry do you work in and what exactly are your skills?
I am in the Power Sector working in the Operations Department; Planning, Commissioning, Plant Isolation and Plant Optimisation Projects.
What inspired you to get into this sort of industry?
Zimbabwe is currently facing power shortages which has hampered economic growth and as such the need to put engineering expertise into practice in order to curb the current problems. It is my desire to contribute meaningfully to the engineering fraternity and economy as a whole and therefore joined the power industry.
What qualifications and experience did you have to gain in order to establish yourself and therefore become a professional within your industry?
I have my Bachelor Engineering (Honors) degree in Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering and joined the industry as a Post Graduate Trainee learning the various systems in the power station.
What is the most challenging aspect within your field of work?
It is vital that the plant runs optimally through interfacing with Maintenance and Engineering Departments. Hurdles are faced due to shortages of spares as such affecting reliability, availability and efficiency of equipment. It then becomes difficult to keep the plant in perfect condition.
How do you manage and overcome these challenges?
We are prioritising on buying the most critical spares with the greatest effect on power generation and also ensuring that the operation of the equipment is done appropriately to avoid human related equipment failures coupled with condition monitoring to reduce sudden failures.
What has been the highlight of your career?
I would say interacting with Head Office top managers and learning from them how the company is run. I also did an analysis of the causes of forced outages of generating units highlighting the potential revenue losses in the period January to April 2013 which gave the company directors an insight into the problems that need to be addressed at the power station to minimise huge losses being incurred.
If somebody starts as a trainee / beginner within your line of work, what could they earn in salary?
Starting salary would be approximately $800 per month.
What can this person expect to earn after 10 years of experience?
They can earn approximately $6000 per month.
Who is your role model and why?
My role model is Dr Ben Carson. He embodies the principles of hard work, excellence in execution of duties and philanthropy through his education foundation assisting the brilliant students who cannot afford to fund themselves. His background inspires me in that no situation can ever stop you from being the person you are destined to be. You can rise above any situation if you put all your energies together and remain focused on your goal.
What motivates you to work this hard?
It is the understanding that God does not expect a mediocre lifestyle from me as he bestowed me with talents that can propel me to excellence in any endeavor and as such I am indebted to him to honour this privilege.
What is your outlook within your industry over the next 5 years?
The industry is set to grow as there are projects underway to expand and rehabilitate the existing power stations to return their current generating capacity to installed capacities.
As you know, numerous African countries are being invested in due to their rich minerals. Which country within Africa do you think will be the next hot spot and why?
I believe it is Zimbabwe due to diamonds that were discovered in 2008.