What it does: Maintains the network that powers SA
Staff stats: 2,200
The good bits: Professional development opportunities
The not so good bits: Negativities (post-blackouts) by the media
The SA Power Network story
SA Power Networks, which was known as ETSA Utilities before a 2012 rebrand, is South Australia’s sole electricity distributor. Relying on high-voltage transmission network connection points operated by ElectraNet (a South Australian electricity company), it delivers electricity from power plants through approximately 87,500km of powerlines to 845,000 homes and businesses. It’s remit also includes: providing emergency response in the event of blackouts and repairing street lighting.
Like many of its counterparts throughout Australia, the South Australian Government opted to sell off the ‘poles and wires’ component of its electricity network during the 1990s privatisation craze. The company is now 51 per cent owned by the Hong Kong-based Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings with (Australian company) Spark Infrastructure accounting for the remaining 49 per cent.
Though now in private hands, SA Power Networks remains under stringent government oversight. It’s licensed by the South Australian Government and regulated by the Australian Energy Regulator and Essential Services Commission of South Australia. It’s required to maintain certain minimum service standards.
SA Power Networks assets are worth around $4 billion and in 2016 in had revenue of $740 million.
SA Power Networks is an equal-opportunity employer. It’s a “corporate leader” in Indigenous employment and committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace.
It has long been focused on recruiting, retaining and promoting more female staff. To further those aims, the company offers flexible working arrangements, workshops and networking events targeted at female staff and a “network of women’s support services”.
As an SA Power Networks staffer, you’ll literally be keeping the state’s lights on. Plus, you’ll be doing it an environmentally responsible manner. The company recycles much of its waste, partners with councils to preserve native vegetation, embraces pollution control measures and has an ongoing commitment to minimising its greenhouse gas emissions.
Staff have the opportunity to get involved in the SA Power Networks Employee Foundation. This was established in 2006 to “enable employees, [and] their families and friends, to make a positive contribution to the lives of the people in our community”. The Foundation raises money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association, Alzheimer’s Australia, World’s Greatest Shave, the Mary Potter Foundation and Hutt St Centre.
SA Power Networks sponsors South Australian baseball, netball and soccer teams. It also helps fund the Adelaide Fringe festival, the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, the Helpmann Academy and organisations such as Asthma SA and YWCA of Adelaide.
The recruitment process
SA Power Networks seeks to hire grads who have initiative, strong interpersonal skills, high motivation, a commitment to safety, a passion to succeed and who are critical, analytical thinkers and team players.
The company offers two grad programs – an engineering one and an IT one. If you’re interested in the former, you may wish to first take part in the 12-week-long ‘Engineering Vacation Program’ while in the second-last year of your degree. (As long as that degree is in civil, electrical, electronic, mechanical, mechatronic or structural engineering.)
The engineering grad program is open to Australian citizens and permanent residents with one of the aforementioned types of engineering degrees.
The engineering grad program prepares you for a “rewarding career” with an innovative electricity distributor. One that is “shaping the future of energy distribution” by “incorporating renewable energy sources with sophisticated distribution network systems and technology so customers can generate, share or use electricity when, where and how they want”.
The program offers “courses and workshops that focus on developing knowledge, skills and leadership capabilities”. You’ll also be “able to broaden your experience and understanding of our business through rotations across a range of diverse and various sites”. At these sites, you’ll be given “challenging and practical work [and be] supported by experienced mentors and coaches”.
The IT graduate program works much like the engineering one. The main difference is IT grads focus on installing, maintaining and updating the technology that underlies and complements company’s sophisticated distribution networks. (While not specified, you’ll presumably need an IT or IT-related degree to be eligible for this program.)
The recruitment process for the grad programs begins by making an online application, which will involve uploading your CV and academic transcript. If you make the shortlist, you’ll be invited to attend an assessment centre. Here you’ll take part in group exercises and problem-solving activities and do a presentation. The final stage is an interview with SA Power Networks representatives. At this juncture, your application, previous work experience and career expectations will be discussed. You may then have to do a pre-employment medical and undergo background checks before receiving a formal offer.
As a private company, SA Power Networks isn’t required to provide information about the salaries it offers and it doesn’t. Grads report being reasonably well paid and also getting bonuses if the company meets its performance targets. Staff also get discounted electricity.
While it’s coy about its remuneration arrangements, SA Power Networks trumpets the “great” personal and professional development opportunities it offers. The company is one of South Australia’s largest employers and can therefore “offer a range of career opportunities – from technical and engineering positions through to management and administration roles”.
The company has a dedicated Training Services department, which offers technical training. It also has “a range of leadership development programs, safety training, IT training and educational opportunities”. Those aspiring to a management position have access to coaching, frontline-manager and middle-manager training and even an MBA program. Whatever their desired career path, grads can enrol in mentoring programs and undertake interactive online training courses to help them fulfil their potential. Study leave is also available for those doing external courses.
The vibe of the place
“A great place to work that delivers great results,” is how SA Power Networks likes to describe its culture. It’s a great place to work because staff are “active participants in problem solving and identifying new business opportunities” and will be recognised and rewarded if they contribute to “business improvements”. The company also encourages employees to innovate in the workplace, confident they can “develop new ways for us to perform even better”.
Star Rating: 4.8 stars
From the Employer:
"Electricity is the life blood of our community. But the way we make and use our electricity is changing and that’s providing exciting new career opportunities in the energy sector.
We’re incorporating renewable energy sources with sophisticated distribution network systems and technology so customers can generate, share or use electricity when, where and how they want.
Shaping the future of energy distribution means we have exciting and challenging career opportunities for graduates, and we’re looking for talented and innovative people to help continue our leadership in energy services.
We regularly recruit a diverse range of graduate professionals and, because of the size and complexity of our business, we have all sorts of challenging opportunities.
We offer an award-winning graduate program where participants are personally supported and mentored, helping fast track their knowledge, development and career.
Our Graduate Development Program (three years for engineers and two years for other disciplines) offers a permanent role on completion with unmatched opportunities in:
- engineering (electrical/ electronics, mechatronics, mechanical, civil and structural)
- information technology.
We are serious about equal opportunity for people of diverse backgrounds, ensuring everyone can thrive in a highly supportive environment.
So why not put yourself in power – with SA Power Networks.
For further information go to our website."