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Ergon Energy Network | Energex

4.8
  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

Shaye Blanchfield

Meet Shaye Blanchfield, Graduate Electrical Engineer, making an impact in her field and helping shape the future of the electricity industry in Queensland, in a tangible way.

Where are you located?

Rockhampton. I have grown up here and absolutely love the relaxed regional lifestyle.

What did you study?

Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Electrical) & Diploma of Professional Practice at CQ University Rockhampton

How long have you been working at EQL?

I was fortunate enough to work for EQL during my third and fourth years of university (2017-2018) for a cumulative total of 40 weeks as an undergraduate, before starting my graduate role in 2019.

What interests you most about your field?

The power industry in Australia is facing some of the most drastic changes in its history. There’s a massive push for renewable energy sources to become a main source of energy generation to reduce coal-fired power generation.  If the current trajectory is anything to go by, we are going to progress towards integrating those technologies very quickly. Many challenges will present themselves, innovative solutions will be needed, along with  their implementation in an efficient and smart way. There’s never been a more exciting time to get involved in an industry like this.  

What do you like about working here so far?

I love being on the Graduate Program. Getting the opportunity to explore the company for three years - working in diverse roles, building skills, professional networks and CPEng competencies is a rare opportunity that not many engineering graduates get. I’ve also enjoyed an extremely strong culture of mentoring. Everybody around me has years of valuable experience and are always happy to share and pass on that knowledge. I love going to work every day.

What do you see as the ‘skills of the future’ in the energy industry?

I believe smart devices will increasingly become the “eyes and ears” of assets (Internet of Things). People who can communicate fluently with these devices (Programming and Software), those who can extract, interpret and draw conclusions (Data Science, Digital Literacy) and those who understand their operation and can iteratively improve the way they function (Science, Maths, Engineering) will likely be some of the most in-demand in my opinion.

How do you want to make an impact in your field?

I think it’s amazing the work we do as engineers has the power to shape the future in a tangible way. I want the work I do to genuinely contribute to how customers receive a safe and reliable supply at the end of the day. I want to help develop solutions that make improvements – saving other people time, saving the business money, helping to ensure a reliable supply, improving customers’ experiences and how communities feel about us as an organisation. I want to see the work I do come to life.

If you could do anything to change the way the energy industry works what would it be?

Due to the exponential growth of rooftop PV installations over the past 10 years, in the next 20-30 years, tonnes of these will need to be recycled. I’m not aware of a plan for this in Australia, so I would invest time and money into how to sustainably recycle all solar panel components. France recently opened a recycling plant for solar panels which extracts most of the material from old panels. However, such plants consume energy and are not cheap to build or operate so there would be several issues to consider. 

What would you tell a new graduate applying to join the EQL graduate program?

To take advantage of the vast experience levels of the people you work for and alongside. All my supervisors and most of my colleagues have decades of experience and are willing to share anything with me, all I have to do is ask. Being a graduate is a very rare career stage where you get to be a “sponge” for three years. It’s a steep learning curve and incredibly interesting. Getting three years to explore the business, discover strengths, weaknesses and where your interests are is a pretty unbeatable opportunity.