The engineering graduates of today will be leading Australia’s energy future and they’re off to a solid start through the Engineers Australia Graduate Program.
Six of the best and brightest graduate engineers are completing rotations through AGL’s operational sites: Electrical Engineer, Sam Mahdi and Mechanical Engineer, Callum de Lacy (Macquarie), Electrical and Electronic Engineer, Junieta Sequeria and Mechanical Engineer, Caleb Day (Loy Yang A), and Mechanical and Sustainable Energy, Engineer Sam DeSantis and Mechanical Engineer, Cowan Godfrey (Torrens Island).
Meet Sam DeSantis, mechanical and sustainable energy engineer at Torrens Island Power Station
I’m a graduate from the University of Adelaide, where I studied a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical and Sustainable Energy). I was lucky enough to be accepted onto the new group operation graduate program with AGL.’
Mechanical and Sustainable Energy Engineer Sam DeSantis and Mechanical Engineer Cowan Godfrey at AGL Torrens Island
During my time here, I’ve already had a lot of technical exposure to South Australia’s largest power station, Torrens Island. I’ve had the opportunity to work between various aspects of the plant, and I’ve taken part in projects that span into the gas and renewable space across Australia.
I’m currently working with the Performance & Reliability team. A typical day for me starts with validating plant availability and verifying the details around any outages or ‘derates’ – which are losses in generation capacity – ensuring that the status of the plant is being communicated correctly to reflect plant performance.
I’ve also been able to steer a critical pressure reduction valve replacement. To work through a project like this requires engineers to move around the site and constantly be in communication with the various asset managers and experts to paint a picture of the problem you’re trying to solve. Technicians, fitters, and operators are among the many people who can provide incredibly detailed knowledge on the complicated ins-and-outs of a power plant.
The ability to effectively read technical drawings, understand operational manuals, find the right information within manufacturer reports, and draw knowledge from the people around you is the essence of applying engineering within industry.
The AGL grad program is really unique: it provides the opportunity for graduate engineers to gain exposure to a very broad portfolio of assets that spans gas-fired steam plants, to large hydro dams, and even provide technical services within a corporate environment. It truly provides the ability to gain extensive experience within a broad technical industry with a wealth of knowledge available from leaders and team members alike.
Electrical and Electronic Engineer, Junieta Sequeria, at AGL Loy Yang
A historical focus
The graduate program is not a new development. AGL has focused of developing the next generation of engineers for a long time now.
The two-year graduate program is close to the heart of AGL Group Operations General Manager Technical Services Barry Millar: he still has the handwritten logbooks from his graduate rotations thirty years ago.
‘I was part of a graduate program in the late 1980s – part of the accredited Institute of Mechanical Engineers program in the industry,’ he said.
‘It was a great, broad-based program that allowed me to get a great industrial grounding.
‘At AGL I was keen to ensure we could create a similar program and provide a great start to the next generation of upcoming engineers.
‘The partnership with Engineers Australia has crafted an outstanding program.’
Barry also worked with Engineers Australia on the more advanced Chartered Engineers program.
‘The plan is to have all of AGL’s engineers across Australia reach Chartered status over 2019, and constantly mentor graduate engineers towards the program,’ he said.
AGL focuses on more than just graduates to build the next generation of knowledge. With approximately 600 employees each at our Macquarie site in New South Wales’ Upper Hunter Valley and Loy Yang A in the Latrobe Valley region of Victoria, we’re a major regional employer at our asset sites. In addition to the graduate intake, our sites have an annual apprenticeship intake that takes in mechanical fitters, electricians, and fabrication apprentices, depending on requirements.