54 new starters power into a new career

22 March 2022

Fifty apprentices and trainees took a huge step up in their career as the group, part of Essential Energy’s largest-ever cohort of apprentices, trainees, and university graduates, participated in their first hands-on training sessions.

The group joined Essential Energy this month as part of the electricity distributor’s commitment to continue sharing a better energy future for the regional, rural and remote communities in its footprint, and brings the total number of graduates, apprentices and trainees working in the business to 185.

“We were astounded by the quality of applicants we had this year, which we felt really speaks to the reputation of the program and how much people realise the benefits of working for a regionally-based company that thinks globally. We actually employed two more apprentices than we were planning due to the quality of applicants,” said Luke Jenner, Essential Energy’s Chief Operating Officer.

The total new employees into the business through the programs consist of 37 Powerline Worker apprentices, five Asset Inspector trainees, five new Field Operations Trainees and three apprentice Zone Substation Electrical Technicians. This represents an increase of more than 20% on the 2021 intake. In addition, four new graduates are working in the Engineering and Information Technology group.

“Four years into our refreshed career pathways program, our business is reaping the benefits. We are seeing strong retention and the people joining us through this program are progressing through the identified career pathways,” said Mr Jenner.

Koby Thurston, originally from Dunedoo, joined Essential Energy in 2021 through the Indigenous Pre-Employment Program and is one of three trainees successful in progressing through to a full apprenticeship, saying “I feel Essential Energy’s encouragement to the Indigenous community to apply for jobs is really great. My experience working for Essential Energy as a young Indigenous man is definitely like no other as they offer so much support and wellbeing groups for young Indigenous people that are working for them.”

Mr Jenner continued, “Our newest powerline apprentices will undertake a four-year program, combining formal training with on-the-job experience, covering all aspects of operating a modern electricity network,”

The Indigenous Pre-Employment Program has recruited five Field Operations Trainees who commenced with the apprentice intake.

“This program continues to provide a career pathway for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women into the business. I’m really proud that we have three trainees, like Koby from this year’s program, who are progressing to a full Apprenticeships in 2022.”

The apprentices and trainees represent locations from across the network footprint: Barham, Bathurst, Berrigan, Berrigan, Blayney, Bombala, Bulahdelah, Buronga, Casino, Cobar, Cooma, Coonabarabran , Coonamble, Cowra, Dubbo, Gloucester, Griffith, Hillston, Kempsey, Leeton, Lismore, Molong, Moruya, Narrabri, Nyngan, Orange, Parkes, Tamworth, Taree, West Wyalong, Young.

The new apprentices, trainees and graduates come from a diverse range of backgrounds, with 40 per cent of the new Apprentices and Trainees identifying with at least one diversity group, including 16 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and four females.

“I’m thrilled to welcome these new colleagues to Essential Energy and wish them all the best in their roles with us,” Luke said.