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Western Power

  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

Michelle Curro

Western Power is both a supportive and flexible work environment, with knowledgeable people who are willing to grow and mentor you.

What's your job about?

Western Power is a government owned corporation that connects customers to energy sources in the south-west of Western Australia. Western Power is responsible for safely and reliably operating and maintaining the electricity network.

I am enrolled in Western Power’s graduate program, which consists of six monthly rotations over three years. I am currently working in operational asset performance in the distribution team. We’re accountable for operational management of in-service distribution network assets. The network assets covered by our area include distribution lines (structures and conductors) and plant assets. The team is also responsible for network facilities and vegetation on the distribution network.

The nature of the work in my team is not project based, which means I can accomplish a lot of small tasks throughout the week, rather than working on the same project. My responsibilities include, but are not limited to, validation of asset failures and determining why they have failed, categorisation of asset failures and the risks associated, extracting and analysing large amounts of asset data through Structured Query Language (SQL) programming, and assisting with customer queries and ombudsman requests.

What's your background?

I was born and raised in Perth, Western Australia. Throughout school, I always had a love of technology and excelled at maths and physics in high school. This led me to study a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Electrical & Electronics Engineering at Curtin University.

Throughout my studies I was heavily involved in Curtin University’s netball community, with both the university netball club and representing the university at state and national level. Part way through my studies I decided to study part time to allow for a more balanced student life between studying, working, and playing netball at a competitive level. This ultimately allowed me to enjoy student-life to its full extent and I would recommend to anyone.

Based on my high school results, I received the Western Power Women in Electrical Engineering scholarship to support me throughout university. My scholarship also allowed me the opportunity to undertake vacation work at Western Power, and I joined Western Power as a Graduate Electrical Engineer in February 2021.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Yes and no. Certain roles involve more technical electrical systems and programming knowledge, while others just require the ability to problem solve and persist.

However, soft skills such as communication, willingness to learn and time management are the more important skills that are needed to excel in the job.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

Western Power is both a supportive and flexible work environment, with knowledgeable people who are willing to grow and mentor you. Along with this, there is a room for both vertical and horizontal movement throughout the business, allowing you to really grow as a professional in the direction of your choosing!

What are the limitations of your job?

As Western Power is a government organisation, the red tape can often make simple processes feel unnecessarily long.

Rotations can also be limited as they are only since months. This sometimes isn’t long enough to see projects fully through or to learn as much as you were hoping.

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

  1. Ask more questions and don’t be afraid to fail – at university and during vacation work. No one expects you to know everything.
  2. Take time for yourself and look after your mental health. Don’t take university marks and vacation work so seriously – it will all work out in the end.
  3. Travel more and enjoy those three months off every summer!