A Day In The Life of A Project Management Graduate
Graduate Program

A day in the life of a Project Management Graduate - Nicholas Flannigan

19 March 2023

Nicholas started out as a Project Management Graduate and transitioned to become an Engineer after finishing his rotation. Apart from providing a peek into his daily life, he also shared his insights on the Graduate Program. Read on to find out more about what he had learned and what it's like to work in his role.

Q: How was the transition from the Graduate Program to your current position?

A: The transition was smooth. Having diverse and challenging responsibilities in the Graduate Program helped build the skills that I needed, the four rotations helped me understand what type of work I enjoyed the most and having a mentor and other graduates by my side helped with the process.

Q: Do you have any advice for the new recruits and people that are considering joining our Graduate Program?

A: For new recruits, I'd say look to learn all the time and don’t forget to make notes! Don’t be afraid to reach out to people outside of your team as there are extremely knowledgeable people throughout Transgrid. Going out on site and getting involved in different projects is also an invaluable experience.

For people that are considering joining the Grad Program - It’s a great time to be in the power industry and Transgrid has an important role in Australia’s future. The Grad Program will make sure that you learn everything that you need to be successful and working at Transgrid has some great benefits too! 

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The below article was written by Nicholas Flannigan in November 2021 during his third grad rotation. He is currently working as a Engineer in the System Planning Team.

7:20 AM

I finally get up on a gloomy Wednesday morning after calculating how long I can stay in bed and still get into the city by 9:00. Although we can still work from home and the usual hybrid working setup will only start in the New Year, I have been going into the office once or twice a week since the COVID restrictions have eased.

7:50 AM

It takes me longer than usual as I’m now used to working from home but I’m ready to walk to the station. I get there a couple of minutes before the train.

8:50 AM

From Central Station, it’s a 10-minute walk to the Ultimo office. I am in the Project Management graduate stream and my first two rotations were Project Management roles based in the Eastern Creek office but I am currently completing my third rotation as an Engineer in the Network Planning – System planning team, based in the city. It has been an excellent opportunity and change of pace.

walking to the office

9:00 AM

I get to the office and greet a few people in the planning team and some other graduates that have decided to come in today. The first thing I do when I log in to my computer is check up on emails. I had previously received a customer request for some circuit breaker fail clearing times for a 132 kV fault on some 330/132 kV transformers. Fault clearing times for transmission circuits are used by planning, design and operating groups to assess the transient stability of the interconnected system. I have received draft calculations from an internal Design Engineer so I read through it to see how the times were calculated and how it compares to the standard time in the National Electricity Rules. Everything looks good and the approval comes through around 10:00 AM.

10:00 AM

I was invited to sit in on an online meeting to discuss low demand models in PowerFactory (a power system analysis software application). With the transition to renewables and the increase in rooftop solar, overvoltage’s can occur in the Transgrid network. It’s very interesting looking into what future network problems could be, how to model them and how they can be planned for. After the meeting, I ask a few questions to make sure that I understood everything.

a day in the life of project management graduate meeting

11:00 AM

The project I am working on is a technical study of NSW’s South Coast region. This is for the connection of a new embedded generator. The study is accompanied by a technical report so I find some information on the generator and the surrounding network before drafting the start of the document. I use a similar past project to determine what I should include.

12:30 PM

I’m hungry so I take the five minute walk towards Darling Square for some lunch. I grab a chicken roll and eat it there as the sun’s now out.

day in life lunch

1:00 PM

The first thing I do when back in the office is fill up my water bottle as it’s important to stay hydrated! My next task in the report is to find the name, location and ratings for all of the network elements that will be included in the generator study. I know where to find all of the data based on some of the previous projects I have worked on. I put these values in the report and ask some co-workers in the office about distributor owned line data.

3:15 PM

It’s time to grab a coffee from the office machine. I catch up with a grad in another team who I haven’t seen in a while.

3:30 PM

I previously had a meeting with a Senior Engineer to identify what network element (for example, a transmission line or a transformer) contingencies should be considered in the study and how to do a contingency analysis in PowerFactory. I put on some music, compare my contingency list to the past project and then add them into the PowerFactory model. I then realise it’s late in the day so I ask a grad to take a picture of me looking at some AEMO generation data.

day in life study

5:20 PM

With the flexible nine day working fortnights, I have a 7 hour 47 minute working day which finishes up just in time to get a lift home (thanks).  

6:20 PM

Once I get dropped off I lie down for a bit and watch some YouTube.

7:20 PM

I planned on going to the gym to make myself look good in this story but my legs were still sore from the gym and 6-aside soccer the other day. I decide it would be better to just take Romeo (he’s a Sheltie) for a walk. It started to rain towards the end of the walk but it was a good time to listen to some more music and get a bit of exercise. Some songs that came up were NO HALO (BROCKHAMPTON), Kilby Girl (The Backseat Lovers) and Photograph (J. Cole). I decided to go to the servo to pick up some half price banana bread and I couldn’t resist buying a bag of lollies too.

walking with my dog

8:30 PM

After eating dinner I watch a couple of episodes of Invasion before hopping on my phone.

11:30 PM

Time to sleep! Tomorrow I’m working from home.

A day in Nicholas's life at Transgrid isn't just about mastering project management skills or navigating through the difficulties of a graduate program. It's about the personal growth and the human connections formed along the way. Those small moments – the shared coffee breaks, the collaborative problem-solving, and the mentorship- turn colleagues into lifelong mentors and friends, where project management and engineering careers are not just developed but nurtured with care and passion.