Engineering Opportunities in a Beautiful Island | Guernsey Electricity

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Engineering Opportunities in a Beautiful Island

We highlighted Guernsey's engineering in the most recent issue of Pathfinder magazine. We shine the light on Shift operator, James Steen and ex-forces, Robbie Watson, who works as one of our Control Room Operators.

If you're looking for an engineering role in a unique location, discover more about becoming a Shift Engineer at Guernsey Electricity.

Applying military engineering to a civilian setting can be challenging, but as the sole supplier of electricity to a community of over 64,000 people, there’s always engaging work to keep our engineers busy at Guernsey Electricity.

We don’t simply sell energy alongside lots of other energy providers; we generate, distribute and retail electricity to everyone in Guernsey. This means everything we do contributes to

our community’s everyday lives. And engineering skills are one of the key resources helping us power through the demands of modern life and navigating the energy transition here in Guernsey.

Our Shift Engineer, James Steen, summarises how the structured nature of shift work and power plant engineering fit together to help keep our island running.

How do your shifts work at Guernsey Electricity?

“I work on 6-week shift rotation, meaning 4-weeks work followed by 2-weeks ‘standdown’. This gives me a great work-life balance as unlike most other careers, I can catchup on normal life regularly.”

Our Shift Engineers provide technical expertise designed to help optimise the station’s performance, working closely with a dedicated Shift Operator and Control Room Operator to problem-solve and maintain power.

How does your job help keep our island running?

Electrical, mechanical or marine engineering experience are crucial disciplines that help keep life running smoothly in Guernsey.

“I’m one of six shift engineers covering on-island electricity generation on a 365-day, 24/7 rota.

Around 90% of Guernsey’s annual electricity is imported from the European grid via

a subsea cable, with any remaining demand topped-up at our local power plant. Consequently, the ‘Power Station’ is where my engineering role mainly comes to play.”

What are the shifts like?

“It’s the electricity demand cycles that split my day into an interesting variety of work. Every shift is an experience, each with its own agenda to work through.

This is partly because electricity demand peaks and dips according to human behaviour and weather conditions, and this diversity keeps our days dynamic and engaging.

Customer’s morning routines differ from their busy afternoon schedules, and overnight routines

are generally very quiet. All this activity has an impact on my shifts."

Tasks include (but are never limited to):

■  Starting and running engines to react to demand changes

■  Monitoring and maintaining High and Low

Voltage systems

■ Isolating individual engines

■  Control panel inspection and safety reports

■ Site security support

What information would you give someone interested in the role?

It’s a position that leads a lifestyle. And here in Guernsey, we enjoy a slower-paced life where 2-week standdowns could be spent on a nearby beach or enjoying day trips with the family to our surrounding islands.

“It’s a rewarding job that’s given me a new level of experience and understanding in engineering. Benefits at Guernsey Electricity include a pension scheme, healthcare package, shop discounts, and Union Protection.

My first challenge was getting used to the size and scale of the site we have – from tracing complicated pipework to understanding how the systems fit together. But working with a team is something I particularly enjoy.”

Read more about James’s experience here.

Interested in joining us as a Shift Engineer?

Visit our careers page.

Ex-forces spotlight on Robbie Watson, Control Room Operator

“After serving 6-years as an infantry soldier operating around the world, I can safely say serving my country is the proudest moment of my life.

Although it can be difficult adjusting to life after the army, the skills and people I met along the way are invaluable to me now. You learn to become stronger, and you know the difference between what you can and can’t control.”

Which brings the conversation seamlessly around to Robbie’s current role as Guernsey Electricity’s Control Room Operator.

“I’m now based in Guernsey’s electricity control room where I monitor the island’s electricity usage in real-time. This is a non-stop job where demand changes regularly, and working alongside my Shift Engineer, I anticipate fluctuations in demand to establish how much generation we need and if/when we need to start any of the ten different engines we have on the site.”

Follow Robbie Watson on LinkedIn for his views on the military and working for Guernsey Electricity.