From starting out as a TransGrid apprentice to helping recruit apprentices for TransGrid, Kailee Standen's career has already come full circle! Here she shares some insights into the recruitment process and explains what new apprentices can expect when they start working with us.
My journey with TransGrid started five and a half years ago, when I joined as a 16 year old electrical apprentice, helping to maintain and construct our network assets. My career quickly progressed, and last year I became a resource scheduler, planning and arranging work for the protection and communications technicians. It's just one of many avenues you could go down as an apprentice, if you choose to develop your career with TransGrid.
Recently, I was also offered the opportunity to assist with recruiting electrical apprentices for 2020. This has taken me to career fairs all over NSW to meet with high school students investigating different career paths, industries and trades.
Engaging with potential candidates
When I started my career with TransGrid, I could see that it would be a supportive, challenging environment, where I could learn and grow alongside an understanding and flexible group of people. I want potential new apprentices to have the same experience, starting right from when they meet me and the rest of the recruitment team at a careers fair.
An electrical apprenticeship includes studying for the Certificate III in Electrotechnology through TAFE, combined with the practical side, which is learnt on the job at TransGrid. Altogether, it lasts for four years – so it's both a big commitment and a big decision for people to make.
By meeting us at a career expo, you can get an insight into the work we do, and find out about some of the roles you could progress to in future. We can answer your questions and this can help with the decision making process.
However, it's not just high school students who are considering an apprenticeship with us. Our apprentices are very diverse in terms of age, background, life experience and so forth. Every year a growing number of female applicants apply; around 30 per cent of our current apprentices are female.
So what's involved in the selection process? Well, if you're invited to interview, you'll complete a formal panel interview which gives you a forum to highlight your interest, enthusiasm and suitability for the role. It will help if you do some research beforehand, and can show some knowledge of TransGrid and our operations.
You'll also take part in an informal practical assessment, which measures your ability to follow instructions. In addition, there's a numeracy and a literacy test, which indicates your aptitude for becoming an electrical apprentice.
On the job
You don't need any trade knowledge or skills before starting your apprenticeship. Manual dexterity can be helpful, but all relevant skills can be learnt on the job. However, what you should have is a strong work ethic, genuine enthusiasm for what you're doing, and a willingness to learn and understand.
TransGrid pays for all TAFE training, including books and supplies, as well as safety equipment, work wear and tools. All apprentices are assigned a mentor who they can contact any time they have questions around their work.
In your first year, you could be doing anything from helping trades people to maintain or replace our assets to testing equipment for failure. You'll attend a hand skills course, and receive training on first aid, working at heights, low voltage rescue and working on elevated work platforms.
We work a nine day fortnight, meaning you get a rostered day off (RDO) every second week. We don't generally work weekends, although varied work locations can involve working away from home occasionally. However, planning our work two months in advance means you always know what's coming up.
A varied career path
Once you've finished your apprenticeship, your next step is to become a tradesperson – and this could also be with TransGrid, if there are vacant positions to apply for at the time.
When you're a qualified electrician, the opportunities that follow are endless. You could become a system operator, engineer, project manager, protection or controls technician or something else entirely!
I'm enthusiastic about recruiting the right people for the job, and giving them the best opportunity to complete their apprenticeship. If you're considering applying for an apprenticeship with us, create your resume, do your research, and apply - you never know where it could take you!
To find out more about a TransGrid apprenticeship.