BHA students shine their light

It has been month of such rewarding activities that have taken place.  My spirit was so lifted and rejuvenated by the events that they left me feeling half my age again!

The highlight of the year so far, took place on Friday 29 October 2021 at the Doubletree Hotel by Hilton Hotels in Salt River, Cape Town.  The occasion was the graduation ceremony for two young gentlemen who graduated from the Advanced Diploma in Illumination Engineering Course with Distinction on 17 December 2020.  Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, lockdowns and the need for all to be fully vaccinated, the ceremony was delayed until such time that I felt that it was safe to go ahead.  I only started attending the face to face Business Matters meetings again on 1 October 2021.  The event was hosted by Business Matters which is the premier business and networking group in the Western Cape province of South Africa.

You may be asking what the significance was of a graduation being hosted by a business networking group.  The answer is simple and also quite unique.

Firstly, Heinrich Kleinschmidt, the owner of Southern Star Computers which is the company that provides our school with all the necessary IT and systems support, introduced me to Business Matters in 2012.  I have been a member ever since.

During 2018, under the leadership of our chairman, Roy McEvoy, together with two of our amazing members, Malcolm Lips and Sharon Constable who both have hearts for those less fortunate than any of us and who worked tirelessly to uplift the Fairmount Secondary School and the students, we were encouraged as members to visit the school and participate in a number of projects. During one of our visits to the school, some of us had the opportunity to speak to the Grade 11 and 12 students to tell them a little about our respective professions.  After I had spoken to them about the illumination engineering profession, I was overwhelmed by the number of excellent questions that were asked by the students.  I have spoken at career guidance events over many years at many different schools. I had never before received so many questions or experienced such interest in the field of lighting.

Malcolm Lips and I discussed the school and in November 2018, I agreed to fully sponsor a student to be selected by the headmaster of the school, Mr Terrence Klassen based on their academic results and attitude to learning.  I met with Mr Klassen who was accompanied by two matriculant students to consider which one would be the best candidate for the bursary, at the River Club in Black River Parkway in December 2018.  At the conclusion of the interview, I decided to offer both of the candidates a full bursary to study with our school.

The two candidates were Dean Boyce and Erin Jones, both of whom had recently matriculated at the end of 2018.  They both commenced the course on 1 January 2019.  the began as two quiet young fellows and graduated with distinction as two confident well-rounded young gentlemen.  I would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending them for any position as professional qualified illumination engineers if asked by prospective employers.

The graduation ceremony was made special by the members of Business Matters with particular thanks to Lawrence Hill who provided the special balloons and for sponsoring the high quality business pads in elegant folders.  Thank you Terrence Klassen for your kind words and encouragement to the graduates at the conclusion of the ceremony.

I presented the Advanced Diplomas in Illumination Engineering to the graduates together with a special award, a book prize and a letter of partial sponsorship to enroll for the Master Diploma in Illumination Engineering Course.  Roy McEvoy, the chairman of Business Matters presented the business folders to the graduates.

It was wonderful to see their parents at the occasion to support them.  They glowed with pride and at times, their emotions were evident.

Yes, there were other events that were very special.  As principal of BHA School of Lighting, I was honoured and privileged to present two webinars for The Institution of Lighting Professionals (The ILP UK) through the Durham Branch.  I co-presented with Abinaya Jevaraju, a second year BHA School of Lighting student from Kuwait City, Kuwait on the subject “The Fascination of Colour”.  Ray Keane, chairman of the Durham Branch, my colleague who also began his lighting career with Thorn EMI Lighting but a little later than I did, introduced us to an audience of 64 attendees and conveyed the questions that had been asked by the attendees for us to answer.

Abinaya Jevaraju, Electrical & Electronics Engineer & BHA School of Lighting Student

The second webinar for the ILP Durham Branch was on the subject “The Intrigue of Colour” which I co-presented with another BHA School of Lighting second year student, Lorrain de Bruyn from Johannesburg South Africa.  The webinar was once again attended by 64 ILP members.  Once again Ray Keane introduced us and conveyed a number of great questions to us for answers.  Both webinars were resounding successes.  We focused on “Women in Lighting” with our star lady students as the presenters.  Thank you to both Lorraine and Abinaya for agreeing to co-present with me.  Many of you may be unaware of the many hours that go into preparing for the webinars. It includes but is not limited to the preparation of the material used, several rehearsals, test runs together with Jess Gallagher, The ILP Engagement and Communications manager and Jo Bell, The ILP Events and Marketing Coordinator.

Lorraine de Bruyn, Lighting Sales Executive & BHA School of Lighting Student

When I contacted the two young lady students and asked them to co-present with me, they did not need any persuasion and instantly agreed.  I provided the relevant presentations to each of them.  I gave them carte blanche to rearrange the slides to suit themselves and asked that they each develop a script indicating what parts they would like to leave for me to present.  The script was to be in the form of a conversation on each subject but without losing the impact of the presentation content.

Thank you Abinaya and Lorraine.  You both excelled.  I am extremely proud of you both.

If these occasions were not enough for one month, we presented a very special webinar on the importance of collaboration between Architects and Lighting designers for all important projects.  My good friend David Gilbey, a member of The Institution of Lighting Professionals (UK) who now lives in Italy, was the initiator of the idea for the webinar.  David contacted his friend, Arif Mehmood an architect who had practised in the UK and is now living and working in Dubai. He agreed to participate as a presenter.  We each delivered a presentation about our favourite major project followed after the initial presentation by a quick presentation of photographs of three other important projects that we each had completed.  The final part of the webinar was a discussion on the importance of collaboration between the lead architect, the lighting designer/s and engineers.  Fifty seven attended the webinar.  Thank you David and Arif for the important role that you played and your contribution to an excellent webinar.

Stay well, stay safe.  Until next month, cheers!

BHA SCHOOL OF LIGHTING – 1 November 2021
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