They have had the chance to work with various teams, including the Control Operators, Asset Strategy and Planning team, Operations and even out in the field, and it has given them a wide range of knowledge and pleasingly made their experience more than what they expected. “I thought Northpower was a huge corporate company, and we would be analysing spreadsheets or getting coffees. Instead, every day we get to learn new stuff,” Sora says.
Now I realise there is so much to learn, my curiosity about electricity and power distribution has grown 100-fold as I realise how little I knew,” Pas says.
Sora (who is studying a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering at Auckland University of Technology) and Pas (studying a Bachelor of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Auckland University) work under our Principal Engineer Russell Watson, and both require practical hours to complete their degrees. “One of the criteria we look for in our interns is that this experience has to be part of what you need to qualify,” Russell says. Russell says that he wants these internships to add value to students' studies and complement their academic learning. “It is about developing people rather than just hiring someone to do a job. We want them to learn as much as possible about the industry.”
Both Sora and Pas say they will benefit thanks to their time at Northpower. “What I have learned here helps the stuff I've learned at Uni make practical sense and I’m sure the stuff I’m going to learn will too,” Sora says. “If anything, it has made me more interested in it and I will study harder this year.” “Every department you go to it is about the learning aspect and they really try to teach you. It is a pure learning environment, and I’ve learned more here than the last two years of Uni,” Pas says.
Having interns is part of Northpower’s commitment to ensuring our industry has skilled people now and into the future.
We have hired Engineering summer interns for over 30 years ad-hoc and more recently we have enhanced the intern programme by expanding it and making it more structured, so interns get to be involved in a wider range of projects and learn more about various parts of the business. “Part of supporting investment in our Networks is helping our next generation of talent to consider a career in the electricity distribution and energy sector,” Russell says. “It is an exciting time for me as we can put the time and effort into teaching, and my colleagues have really come on board allowing interns to learn more by exposure to other areas.”
Sora and Pas will finish their internships in February before heading back to university but leave with some advice for their future counterparts.
Be keen and ask questions. You don’t know what you don’t know, and you’ll never find out if you don’t ask questions,” Pas says.