Paul Dickenson

Paul Dickenson

University of Tasmania
Graduate Engineer
Paul studied Bachelor of Engineering with Honours at University of Tasmania

What's your job about?

I work for TasNetworks, the sole distribution and transmission power provider for mainland Tasmania.

TasNetworks provides a graduate engineer with a rare opportunity to develop as both a distribution and transmission power engineer, for an almost completely renewable power system. During my first two years at TasNetworks I have had the opportunity to divide my time across four vastly different engineering groups at two different offices, and I have also been able to undertake work experience at Hydro Tasmania.

My most recent role at TasNetworks was in Protection and Control Engineering. My day-to-day work involved providing design and engineering support for automation and remote operation systems used to run the power network. My major responsibility in this team was to act as project manager and provide engineering design for a project to retrofit high voltage regulators with new control systems. This project is meaningful to me as it will provide great power quality and reliability to TasNetworks customers.  

What's your background?

As a child my family moved around Tasmania, living in Burnie, the Tasman Peninsula and finally Hobart. My first exposure to engineering was at Clarence High School when I attended the Engineering Challenge. This experience planted the idea for me to become an engineer, which was reinforced by my parents and teachers.

I believe that working in hospitality for seven years while studying has helped me to develop the interpersonal skills and work ethic required to be successful as an engineer. This experience has also helped me understand the impact that quality of work has on customers, which is a focus I take forward as an engineer at TasNetworks.  

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Absolutely. TasNetworks has a large number of employees from a diverse range of backgrounds and cultures. The first team that I was part of when I started working at TasNetworks was made up of seven people; this team spoke eight different languages fluently.

I believe that any person could be successful in my job as long as they are open to developing both technical and interpersonal skills. Especially when managing a large project, it is important to empower your teammates so that you can collectively reach an optimal outcome. In almost all cases engineering is more about the team than the individual.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

I didn’t really consider the power system much until I became an engineer, but now I struggle to walk down the street without stopping to look at poles and wires, etc. This has come as a bit of a surprise to my girlfriend, who, although reluctantly at first, is also starting to learn about and appreciate the power network.

What are the limitations of your job?

One of the greatest limitations of being an engineer at TasNetworks is knowing that we cannot realistically provide a completely reliable power supply to all customers at all times.

Although I was very young growing up on the Tasman Peninsula during the nineties, I still remember the frequent power outages. Working at TasNetworks it has been great to see the work undertaken to improve the reliability of the power supply to the Tasman Peninsula and other rural communities, which is something that I am really excited to be working on.

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

  • Make getting relevant work experience your primary objective.
  • Find a part-time job or volunteering opportunity that will help you develop interpersonal and team work skills.
  • Visit as much of the world as you can.