What's your job about?
I’m a Graduate Electrical Engineer at Energex and Ergon Energy and we’re responsible for delivering electricity across Queensland through a ‘poles and wires’ business. We ultimately exist to service the community and safely keep the lights on.
My Graduate Program is three years long with rotations into new and diverse roles every six months. As of late, I am working in Engineering Field Support. The team support field crews with engineering knowledge and networks. For example, a crew might ask why protection has been set in a certain way or which standard is most appropriate for a use case. As the engineering field support team, it is our responsibility to analyse the theory and produce a solution for our internal customer.
My role within the team is centred around learning. In this role, I travel out to the site with crews, watch what they are doing, listen to their processes and continually ask questions. My intention is to learn how crews operate, why they make certain decisions and what their motivations are. Additionally, I have the opportunity to see a wide variety of assets and use cases. This experience allows me to understand the physical impact of my engineering decisions. I intend to apply these learnings in my future roles; ultimately ensuring that field crews are safe, supported and considered, and assets are optimally employed.
What's your background?
I grew up in Brisbane and, inspired by my father, initially dreamed of becoming a teacher. As I moved through school, I developed interest in mathematics and science. Because of this, I began dreaming of becoming a doctor. Towards the end of high school, I witnessed a gruesome medical incident and the reality set in that medicine might not be best for me.
Having no idea what I wanted to do, I flicked through a careers book and found engineering. I loved math and science, especially solving problems, and decided to study a Bachelor of Engineering at QUT. After one year of study, I realised that there wasn’t enough math in Engineering and so, transitioned into a double degree of Engineering and Mathematics. In my second year of study (2015), I was fortunate to receive a scholarship and 12 weeks of work experience with Energex. This internship opened my eyes to a career that I had not considered but truly loved.
After this opportunity, I continued casual work at Energex while working a number of other jobs. My university volunteer experiences and alternate jobs (namely as a tutor, KFC customer service, private banker and data analyst) made me appreciate the opportunities at Energex.
At the end of my degree, I was fortunate to be offered a full-time position on Energex’s Graduate Program. I ultimately selected this role because of the company’s culture, people, values, work and community service. Furthermore, I could foresee emerging challenges within the industry that I wanted to solve. Through my experiences, I am grateful for the journey towards my dream career.
What interests you most about your field?
The aspect of my job that interests me most is data analytics and predictive modelling. Within the energy industry, there is an incomprehensible volume of data, which continues to exponentially grow. Simultaneously, the industry is faced with significant challenges that require innovative, considered and relevant solutions.
This is where my passions and skills flourish. By analysing data, developing predictive models and implementing usable solutions, I am able to help improve safety, reduce customer costs and streamline programs of work. Whilst these technical abilities are essential, it is also important to develop strong soft skills. Abilities such as communication, emotional intelligence, leadership and time management will ensure you successfully employ your technical abilities in the real world.
What's the coolest thing about your job? What do you like about working here so far?
I love everything about my job; from programming in the office, to stepping out on-site, analysing fault events and responding after a storm. I find each experience both exciting and rewarding. Personally, I am passionate about employing data science and analytics to extract new insights and affirm long-standing technical theories. In 2020, I was fortunate to be tasked with developing a model to accurately predict power pole lifecycles. I found this experience rewarding as I was able to improve community safety, optimise the program of work and make a real and positive difference to customers.
What do you see as the ‘skills of the future’ in the energy industry?
The energy industry is rapidly and continually evolving. I foresee skills of the future (and today) as adaptability, innovation, teamwork and communication. With rapid change comes the need to adapt and innovate. These skills ensure you not only keep up but play an active role in creating the future. The future cannot and should not, be dictated by an individual, rather a team that collaborates, challenges, communicates and listens; taking everyone on the journey towards a better world. Whilst technical skills are of great value, the development of these (and other) soft skills will strengthen your success within the industry.
What would you tell a new graduate applying to join our graduate program? 3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...
My advice when applying for the Graduate Program is to think about who you are now, who you want to be and how the program will support you on this journey. Personally, my career aspirations are to make a positive difference in the community and work towards lifelong learning. The program supports these goals through continued professional development, service to the community and mentorship. I also recommend evaluating a company’s culture and determining whether the environment will support your success. I found that this company has a strong culture of safety, mateship, support and service; all of which align with my ethos.