Why did you apply to RWE? – I have always been excited by the energy industry. As an undergraduate I did student placements with several Civil/Structural consultancies, although I enjoyed the work I realised I wanted something more specific so ended up applying to only generation companies for my graduate job. I was excited by the multidisciplinary nature and long term outlook, looking after wide range of generation assets.
What have you enjoyed most about the graduate scheme? – The scheme gives such a broad experience and unique understanding of the power industry. During two years of graduate placements I was able to work across the company including setting out turbine and generator foundations for a new build site, managing hydro power plants site works in Snowdonia, doing design reviews and undertaking modification designs and detailed Civil Asset surveys at operational sites. The Graduate training is the shared with other disciplines so I gained training and insight into electrical, proccess, mechanical engineering aspects along with operational and commercial elements related to the power industry.
What makes your job exciting?
I personally enjoy the massive variety in the role and involvement across different sites and areas of plant. There a so many different structures and civil elements you get to deal with from large underground CW systems and structures to some huge buildings and chimneys, and often you have to research the original design in order assess their future use.
It is great when you visit a site, know your way around, what all the plant does and see all the various projects you've contributed or especially when you can help resolve an urgent issue to keep the plant in service.
What did the development opportunities look like for you?
The company is really supportive of development and helped me become a Chartered Civil Engineer by putting in place an ICE approved training scheme. I was able tailor my placements to fit with my development needs, including technical, site and project experience. This was guided by the other civil engineers the focus can vary and no year is the same but generally fits into a few main work areas:
- Management of civil assets ranging from large scale power stations down to minor buildings and structures, this includes general inspections, principal inspections.
- Site support including defect Investigation, repairs and modifications.
- Project development support from small scale to major modifications and new build plant.
What advice would you give to someone considering applying? – you need to be an adaptable all-rounder with good structural understanding and problem solving skills. You might be designing a new lifting beam to retrofit ready for a maintenance outage, or supporting a long term development project, reviewing information from consultants and inputting into investigations and specifications. It's really important understanding how it fits with all the other generation maintenance activities.