What's your job about?
Powerco is an electrical distribution company which provides power across large parts of the North Island including New Plymouth, Tauranga, Palmerston North and Masterton. Our main office is in New Plymouth where I am based, working as a Graduate Electrical Engineer. Powerco’s focus as a company is to provide a safe and reliable supply of electricity to our customers through our distribution network. In order to achieve this there are several diverse teams within Powerco that make this happen. Working within Powerco’s graduate programme gives me the chance to rotate across these different parts of the business gaining knowledge from experienced and skilful engineers.
I am currently in my second year of Powerco’s graduate programme having been part of the Planning, Protection and Design teams so far. Throughout these teams I have been exposed to several interesting projects such as looking at the impact of solar panels on the network, completing fault investigations and designing a new automatic voltage regulator at one of our substations. Currently, I am working for the Asset Fleet team where my daily tasks revolve around assessing the state of our assets on the network. Right now, I am developing and reviewing models to prioritise which assets we look to replace in the coming year.
What's your background?
I grew up in Auckland where I have lived for most of my life right up to university. Throughout my time at school I had a passion for problem solving and designing, especially in terms of electronic projects. This made me very interested in engineering as a profession which led me to start studying engineering at the University of Auckland. As I progressed through my studies, I had a strong focus on electronics and programming as they had been what I enjoyed throughout my school life. However, during my electrical and electronic courses I was introduced to power systems and was immediately absorbed by it. I found this to be extremely interesting, learning about how the existing network was developed and how new technologies such as solar and wind were impacting the grid as we know it. This evolving network and the challenges arising from it made me want to be a part of this industry and made me want to work for an electrical distribution company such as Powerco.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Yes, though for most roles that I will be covering in the graduate programme a background in electrical engineering would be hugely beneficial. However, there are several aspects to my work that involve other skills such as; programming, automation, financial analysis, mechanical design and many more. These are all techniques and methods which I am still developing but being able to constantly learn something new makes it more interesting. Therefore, having a desire to challenge yourself and a willingness to constantly learn is a must for this role.
What's the coolest thing about your job?
The greatest thrill I get in this line of work is being given a complicated task which I know little about at the start and then working through the problem and coming up with a solution which in the end works. This gives me a chance to pick the brains of our experienced engineers and continually gather as much information from them as possible.
What are the limitations of your job?
As a graduate engineer the lack of experience I have can lead to a lot of time spent learning and understanding concepts. This can lead to a bit of reading and data crunching before you can start doing the cool stuff. However, this continues to make the job interesting being thrown new things that I may not understand and the engineers at Powerco are always willing to help and share their knowledge making it a fantastic learning environment.
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