The vast scopes of the job role and career development opportunities were particularly attractive. WPD was well known and respected within the electricity distribution industry. The thought of working for the top performing DNO in the UK was also a major factor.
I specialise in the field of power system protection.
The main aim of my role is to make sure that our network is well protected against faults and to isolate only the faulty network through automation to keep as much of the healthy network in service.
My typical week will involve engaging in discussions with our Design or Delivery engineers to provide protection philosophy for new connections, carrying out protection studies and use various software to program protection relays that are installed at substations. It also involves occasional site visits to our substations to assist in commissioning and customer sites to inspect and sign-off on embedded generation to begin exporting power to our network.
The learning opportunities that this role provides are very motivating. The nature of this job is such that we have to be experts on deciphering protection technology that were in operation as far back as the 1960s (still in use!), as well as modern, ever-evolving digital protection systems.
I work in a dynamic, fast-paced environment where team-working and knowledge sharing is encouraged. There is a positive attitude towards problem-solving and critical analysis, and innovative thinking is facilitated.
The main key to success is having a positive attitude towards problem solving and always wanting to go the extra mile. Knowledge sharing is essential, especially with quite a few highly experienced engineers in various departments.
There is a formal personal development review held with my line manager on an annual basis where we draw out goals and objectives for the next twelve months. Projects could range from specifying protection for 11kV distribution substation to 132kV Grid Supply Point. Registration with professional bodies such as the IET is encouraged and sufficient support is provided to meet their various criteria to become Chartered/Incorporated Engineer.
As I was still in the early stages of my career, I was taken on in WPD as a trainee and given about 12-15 months as a timeline to become fully qualified. However, my proactive approach towards learning and taking on increasingly complicated projects paid off and I subsequently passed an internal interview to become fully qualified in six months.
I came in to this role having a bit of experience in the theoretical side of protection, however I had practically no knowledge or experience in programming relays. It took in-depth self-learning, reading quite a few relay manuals and through help and support of my team, I became comfortable and confident in this aspect of my role. Going to sites to witness commissioning and seeing the relays get tested with the logic provided by myself was the final piece of the puzzle.
Someone who wishes to work for WPD must be an active problem-solver, team-player and be willing to function in a fast-paced environment. There will be opportunities to learn and develop, however it will be up to the person to identify and act on them. The candidate should be familiar with energy industry’s present day challenges, especially issues relevant to electricity distribution networks.