Where did you grow up?
I am from Perth, went to high school at Leeming Senior High and university at Curtin University.
How did you get to your current job position?
I was fortunate enough to get vacation work over a long period of time at Western Power and from there was offered a position in the graduate program.
How did you choose your specialisation?
I was originally enrolled in chemical engineering. I soon lost interest in chemical engineering when I realised it had not a lot to do with chemistry (my reason for enrolling).
I enjoyed some foundation electrical units in my first year of university and was encouraged by some of my laboratory teachers that electrical power is a great industry and has a lot of work in it now so I wouldn’t struggle to get a job. Hence, I enrolled in electrical engineering majoring in power.
What was your interview process like?
As a result of my extensive vacation work with Western Power, I didn’t sit an interview. Western Power was satisfied with my performance on the vacation program enough to offer me a place in the graduate program.
What does your employer do?
Western Power is the ‘poles and wires’ company responsible for getting power from A to B. The primary work in Western Power revolves around designing, operating, and maintaining both the transmission and distribution networks.
What are your areas of responsibility?
I have had several roles in the business including long-term planning, designing transmission lines, and project management (to name a few). In these roles, I have been responsible for designing a new 132kV transmission line in Capel, delivering relocations works including distribution undergrounding and transmission relocation for a major road intersection upgrade, and assessing the network's capacity to connect new renewable generation.
Can you describe a typical workday?
I am currently working on design options and costing for the connection of a 100MW solar farm. I am also working on a proposal to mitigate network constraints in the South West which will facilitate more large customers to connect to the network.
Western Power is very flexible in work times, I prefer to start at 7.30 am and finish a little earlier. Other teammates start later – it’s all okay as long as you do your required hours and deliver your projects on time.
My current role has me sitting at my desk most of the day referring to various databases and tools to complete my proposals/designs. However, my project management role required me to go on-site quite regularly.
Your average day can look quite different depending on what role within Western Power you have. From mainly office-bound to mainly field bound, varying start times and flexible working arrangements, working in our Perth office or at a depot in the suburbs/rural. There is a role to suit everyone.
What are the career prospects with your job?
The graduate program is very good at allowing you to have a taste of various roles around the business. Once finishing the graduate program, you should be experienced enough to find a role in any of your rotations.
If you decide Western Power is not the place for you, you’ll still be an attractive candidate at any company that operates in the power industry.
What do you love the most about your job?
The best things about Western Power include the variety of work, the support from your team with regards to training, knowledge sharing, and flexible working options.
What’s the biggest limitation of your job?
The red tape associated with all government departments or businesses that are held to a higher level of transparency and scrutiny can sometimes cause slow decision making. Western Power isn’t unique in that aspect!