The technical skills and qualifications derived from WOU’s mechatronics degree can become a launch pad for achieving higher-level qualifications and expanding one’s expertise and business.
Ng Phooi Sang, 50s, who graduated from WOU in 2020 with a Bachelor of Technology (Honours) degree in Mechatronics (BTME) through open distance learning (ODL), revealed how true this was in his life. He was presenting an online talk titled “Career and Personal Journey through ODL” on 26 March 2022, organised by the School of Science & Technology (SST) and attended by some 20 people.
He is the founder and director of GT Instruments Sdn Bhd and has over 25 years work experience in the physical testing industry. His company, with offices in Penang, Selangor and Singapore, supplies a wide range of material testing equipment in Malaysia and Singapore for industries like rubber, metal, packaging and plastic. The company also offers total solutions for testing laboratory, and ISO accredited testing and calibration services.
Before WOU, Ng said he lacked the know-how to perform proper interpretation of test results. “I was afraid my business would fail. I sought to gain professional qualifications and become a certified engineer and an approval signatory for test reports, calibration certificates and inspection reports.”
The technical skills acquired from the various courses under BTME enabled him to interpret test results, thus creating new business opportunities. He also received a lot of input from his coursemates from the different industries. He presently collaborates with other institutions and industries, offering them the use of his laboratory facilities and sharing his knowledge.
Due to his real-work experience and BTME knowledge, he gets invited as a technical speaker for conferences, seminars and workshops. In fact, Ng is now a certified signatory for ISO 17025 accreditation, a certified HRDF trainer, and a consultant. He advises a number of laboratories, like at Universiti Sains Malaysia and Universiti Putra Malaysia, on how to become accredited for testing.
His company has likewise flourished, transforming from an engineering trading company that provides sales and support, to becoming a leader in Southeast Asia in providing material testing instruments, calibration and testing service. “I am able to tell clients whether the equipment meets accreditation requirements and the results are valid.”
Ng is proud that his company is a provider of accredited calibration, especially since there was none previously for the whole of Southeast Asia, compelling industries to seek assistance from overseas to get certification. “My company is the first to provide this service in Southeast Asia,” he asserted.
He lends his expertise as a technical trainer, internationally and to local agencies like BOMBA, Customs and Malaysia Civil Defence, showing them how to implement proper physical testing for valid results.
He also collaborates on research and development with various universities, institutions and industries, offering support and expertise to develop calibration and solutions. He actually performs simulation using various materials (for products) to help industries comply with regulatory requirements. “I learnt about research and engineering simulation from WOU,” he elaborated. One of the core major courses under BTME is ‘System Engineering and Simulation’.
Ng is currently pursuing his Master’s degree on his path towards achieving his PhD. He hopes in the future to become an ISO 17025 consultant to fill the current gap in the market.