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Alistair McNie

Case study

“My Year In Industry experience served as an excellent knowledge base which resulted in easier delivery of future training to myself.”

Alistair McNie Project Engineer

Organisation attended: SP Energy Networks

Job title: Project Engineer

Location: Kirkintilloch

Duration: One Year

How/why did you apply and how did you prepare?

Having come straight from school, aged 16, into the Year In Industry my previous work experience was virtually nonexistent except from having held a paper round for a number of years.

This meant entering the work place was a big step up for me so the preparation was mostly mental in my case.

Being so young meant I was likely to face challenges when dealing with peers who were older and much more experienced than me.  I had to begin my placement with this in mind making sure to take time with others to learn from them but also develop business connections and respect with them. 

What did you do?

I gained an in-depth knowledge of the automation equipment installed on the 11,000 volt distribution network which then allowed me to have a more productive role within the department. 

I was tasked with analysing data regarding transient faults on the network to highlight where we might have faulty piece of automation equipment which would hinder the automated restoration of power in the event of a true/permanent fault.

As well as gaining experience of the network automation schemes and equipment, I also had to gain an understanding of the 11,000 volt distribution network itself.  This provided invaluable experience for when I began my training to become an Engineer with SP Energy Networks. 

What did you gain from the experience?

My Year In Industry placement was of fantastic benefit to me.  It provided me with the basic skills to enter the working environment with regards to working with other people and managing a dynamic workload.

The electrical knowledge that I gained also proved infinitely useful during my Power Engineering Apprenticeship.  This knowledge served as a grounding for all further training which I much more easily understood at the beginning versus some of my colleagues who had come straight from school and experienced a very steep learning curve. 

Top tips

I believe the key to delivering a successful work experience program lies in work activities presented to the candidate.

If all the work taking place is spreadsheet based, for example, then the full benefit of the placement cannot be realised. 

In what ways has the experience had an impact on your career path/ambitions?

I aim to continue the use of my knowledge which was gained through the Year In Industry program with regards to the electrical distribution network, and develop this further as required.

I am currently working as a Project Engineer with a view to becoming fully Senior Authorised on the 11,000 & 33,000 volt distribution network.

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