What’s your job about?
Western Power employs a huge number of people from numerous disciplines - both engineering and non-engineering. We are the sole electricity utility in the South West of Western Australia, operating transmission, distribution and communications networks which provide power to the majority of Western Australians. As a graduate engineer, I have the opportunity to work within numerous functional business units including Asset Performance, Engineering & Design and Project Management among others.
On a daily basis, I am involved in a number of projects including asset replacements, major infrastructure deployment and new technology trials across the entire project life-cycle. This can include establishing, scoping, planning and executing projects of varying complexity and importance. To achieve a successful project outcome, contributions are required from many different people with different skill-sets.
Working as an engineer, I spend a lot of time in the office and collaborating with colleagues via meetings and workshops. We develop strategy, establish concept and detailed designs and support our operations and maintenance teams in construction and commissioning activities.
It is particularly rewarding to get out in the field and see how a design goes from an idea on a piece of paper, to a functional system supporting the company’s main objective; powering the lives of Western Australians.
What is your background?
I’m probably as Western Australian as you can get. I was born and raised in Perth and attended primary and high school here. After graduating high school, I spent a year at university studying science but decided it wasn’t for me and that I would join the work-force full time.
I have always loved technology and was able to begin forging a career in the audio-visual industry working in the corporate events space. I started out rolling up cables in the post-event wee hours, eventually moving up the ranks to a senior sales role.
Eventually, my desire to do something greater overwhelmed my desire to maintain a steady income and I decided to take the plunge and go back to University to study Engineering. Over the course of my studies, I was lucky enough to become a father to two beautiful healthy children. Although this presented a massive challenge, I was able to successfully complete my Bachelor of Engineering degree with honours, thanks to a huge amount of support from my incredible wife and family.
I am a bit older than most graduates but I am so glad I studied engineering. I now have a bright future ahead in an exciting and challenging industry that I am passionate about.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Yes, absolutely. There are so many different engineering disciplines to choose from, so anyone with an inquisitive nature and a desire to learn more should give it a go. You will need to be able to think creatively, communicate effectively and work well in a team.
There are many problems in the world today that need dedicated passionate people to help solve them. It doesn’t matter where you are from, what language you speak, or what abilities you may have, all you need is the desire to make a difference and the fortitude to work hard to make that difference.
What is the coolest thing about your job?
The coolest thing about my job is learning all of the inner workings of the electrical and communications networks. Studying a circuit diagram in a text book is not the most exciting thing in the world but seeing how a transmission substation or high-speed microwave radio link is designed and then implemented is pretty exciting.
We tend to take our electricity supply for granted, but knowing the work that goes into designing, constructing, operating and maintaining the current network as well as planning the electricity grid of the future is extraordinary.
What are the limitations of your job?
As a graduate, I am placed in a new team and new department every six months. This means I am in some ways starting a new job every six months. You have to adapt to new team members, systems, software, expectations and responsibilities each time. This can limit the amount you can achieve in each rotation, however it also exposes you to a lot of people and processes within the business, and allows me to understand how the various departments interact to get things done.
3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student…