"Everyone I have encountered during my placements so far have been very friendly, very willing to help and very patient"
I had a summer placement with the Engineering Centre during my 4th year at University. After my 12 weeks with the Pressure Parts team, I was offered a place on the Graduate Programme on completion of my Master’s degree. I had really enjoyed my time at SSE so I happily accepted the position.
Placements so far
My first placement on the programme was back with the Pressure Parts team. During my three months with this team, I was able to contribute to a number of projects, including the development of a Fatigue Life Consumption Model, a Weld Inspection Schedule for Peterhead Power Station and an Engineering Assessment and Future Strategy for Cold Formed Bends at Tarbert Power Station. I was also able to visit a number of sites which greatly enhanced my knowledge and understanding of thermal generation.
I spent my second placement with the Renewables Development Onshore Wind team. Although my degree is in Mechanical Engineering, I decided to work with the Electrical team for a broader view of the business area and increase my knowledge of electrical systems. This placement was centred round the design and development of future wind farms, so both technical and commercial decisions had to be considered, which was beneficial for my personal development. The work I contributed to included devising cable layouts, single line diagrams and reactive power calculations for potential new sites.
My next placement was with the Hydro Maintenance Team based at Clunie. This placement was ideal for getting exposure to outages, maintenance activities and SSE Safe Systems of Work at various hydro stations in the Tummel and Breadalbane schemes. As well as helping at the various outages, I aided in the development of a Risk Based Inspection approach for accumulators and also started an inspection schedule for high pressure flexible hoses on the governor and jacking systems for use on all sites.
Currently, I am based at Great Island Power Station in Co. Wexford, Ireland. I will be based here for 3 months, undertaking preparatory works before the upcoming outage in October. I am really enjoying the exposure to thermal generation once more, this time in a more practical and operational sense. The outage will allow me to gain responsibility for specific projects to be completed and I am already liaising with contractors during the planning stages.
Your thoughts on the Programme
The real selling point of the Graduate Scheme for me is the fact that Generation Graduates can, within reason, choose their placements to allow them to get as much or as little exposure to different business areas as they would like. This has been great for me, as I would like to experience as much of the generation business as I can over the 2 year programme. SSE is also very keen for graduates to become chartered with their respective institutions within 4-5 years of starting with the company, so a lot of support is available to help with this. Each graduate is assigned a mentor, a business sponsor and a buddy, who there are plenty of people on hand for assistance and advice! In fact, everyone I have encountered during my placements so far have been very friendly, very willing to help and very patient!
Rising Star Award
A very nice surprise to win! This was based on the work I did during my first placement on the graduate programme with the Pressure Parts team and my other interests outside of work. I put the application in and was shortlisted along with 5 other people new into the industry, a mix of graduates and apprentices, and was fortunate enough to win jointly with an apprentice from UK Power Networks.