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High Voltage: NAIT’s Electrical Engineering Technology Program

Electrical engineering at NAIT

By Orrin Farries

This past year of quarantine and isolation has made for a renewed appreciation of the relativity of time, however, for Aaron Weicker, a 2nd year student in the Electrical Engineering Technologies program, that time has been well spent preparing for a challenging career in electricity and power.

“[The Electrical engineering technology program] really needs you to think critically and problem solve your way through,” said Weicker.

“We do a lot of theory work, and then we’re straight into the hands-on labs.”

The Electrical Engineering Technologies program is a fast-paced two year program that sends its students through the ringer, zapping their brains with knowledge, and keeping current with an industry-oriented curriculum.

A mature student, Weicker has thought of and aspired towards a number of careers, ultimately choosing the electrical engineering technology program for its challenge and its prospects in career.

A 3 phase Induction Motor set up for monitoring the power output
A 3 phase Induction Motor set up for monitoring the power output. | Photo supplied.

“As a kid I wanted to be an archeologist, but then I found out it’s not exactly like Indiana Jones,” said Weicker.

“As well, I came from a family of firefighting, and emergency services workers which led me to [go to school for] firefighting, then policing, and then a career shift at age 26.”

Part of the strong drawing power of NAIT is that it has so many options to make an educational move towards a pivot in career, with over 100 course paths that can lead to a certificate, diploma, or degree.

“I was always good with numbers and math and technology,” said Weicker.

“And I figured electricity will always be around, which brought my choice down to [electrical engineering technology] or alternative energy technology.”

“NAIT said I had to pick one or the other,” said Weicker. “Electrical engineering is kind of the same, but you get accreditation.”

Many of the engineering technology programs offered at NAIT make their students eligible for accreditation with the Association of Science & Engineering Technology (ASET), which offers comprehensive benefits, serves as a network for career opportunities, and eases the ability of its members to ply their trade across their world.

Looking towards a future of creating a meaningful impact to his world, Weicker has his eyes set on taking the tools he’s learned from NAIT to add to the energy industry.

“I’ll definitely be in field service and testing equipment, testing the bigger transformers on all the substations, [for a company] like Epcor,” said Weicker.

person sitting in front of radio mixing board.
Outside of his program, Weicker is part of the NR92 radio club. | Photo supplied.

One of the reasons NAIT has made itself essential to Alberta, is the cooperation between the institution and the industry that it serves with its trained graduates. This has led to the Engineering Technology programs at NAIT to achieve an astounding 95.8% employment placement rate as of April 2020.

“For our program, they’re always in contact with the big energy companies in Alberta like Epcor, and even other engineering firms, making sure the program is teaching to make a smoother integration [into the workforce],” said Weicker.

In a difficult year, Weicker said that the Electrical Engineering Technology program made the transition during the pandemic seamless enough, for him anyways, striking a balance between hands-on lab work, and lectures being provided over video calls.

“I’m one of the few people that actually liked [distance learning],” said Weicker. “I like the idea of having a class day online just being able to sit at your desk, and not have to go anywhere.”

Outside of the program, Weicker found a community at NAIT with the NR92 radio club, where he regularly spun hours of music and connected with students from NAIT’s Radio and Television program.

“[I’ve been] getting to ply my craft and meet some people from different programs, getting to see parts of me that I wouldn’t normally see as part of my program,” said Weicker.

An exciting program, with career opportunities the world over, Weicker is slated to graduate into an exciting future ahead of him in power and electricity thanks to the skills that he’s learned at NAIT.

For more information on the Electrical Engineering Technology program here.

For more information on all of the certificate, diploma, and degree programs offered at NAIT check here.

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