RMIT’s practical, work-oriented training helped student Sebastian Mollison turn his passion for electronics into career-ready skills – and become a national mechatronics champion.
A graduate of the Advanced Diploma of Engineering Technology – Electrical at RMIT, Sebastian has always wanted to do hands-on work. When his high school careers advisor noticed his fascination with all things electrical and recommended the program, Sebastian knew it was the right fit for him.
“I used to, as a kid, pull apart all the toys and stuff bits of batteries to lights and wire it up and connect it to my Lego, and make little cars that drive around. As I got older, I went from Lego and lights to robotics, when I was in high school.
“I chose RMIT because they have a more practical approach in their teaching. Rather than reading about a circuit, I get to actually build one. Or instead of reading about how you program or simulating on a computer, I actually get to write a code and then watch it make a machine work or a sequence run.”
During his first year, Sebastian’s teachers recognised his skills with programmable logic controllers and suggested he enter a local mechatronics competition. Sebastian took the chance – and went on to win gold in the mechatronics category of the National WorldSkills Competition.
“One of my teachers saw I was doing quite well and recommended me towards a small competition. I didn’t know what it was – I just said ‘sure’ to get a day off and compete in something I really enjoyed. So I competed in that competition [and] ended up coming in second.
“That led to me going into the national competition the next year. So now I suddenly had learnt what I was actually doing: I was competing in a national mechatronics competition against the best in Australia, and I ended up coming first.”
When Sebastian graduated from the advanced diploma, he followed the pathway into the Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical and Electronic Engineering) (Honours). The transition has been smoother than he’d anticipated.
“There is a significant jump in your workload and contact hours. But you’re still prepared for it through your advanced diploma. You’re still going to lectures, you still have tutorials and you still have labs.”
The tireless support he received from RMIT teachers throughout his advanced diploma and during the lead-up to his competitions played a pivotal role in his decision to further his studies.
“During the hours upon hours of training, and with other expenses I didn’t even know about, RMIT helped out. Particularly, teachers gave a lot of time.
“They surrendered part of their classrooms to help me practise or they helped get the funding required, along with the government, to send me to an international competition.
“I always had a list of teachers I could always go to and ask a question to. They’re always available for help. Even when I’m not in their class anymore, I can still go to some of them and ask questions.”
Meeting other students and tradespeople in class and at competitions has been a highlight.
“The best thing about it is you’re doing something you love, so you’re surrounded by those people who also enjoy that exact same thing. So it’s really a great place to meet people, and I’ve made some true lifelong friends.
“What’s next for me is really just working hard on my degree, working on improving my skills and education. I really want to get that down.”
Acknowledgement of country
RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business. - Artwork created by Louisa Bloomer