Engineers with coal fired power station experience - Due to the small number of coal fired power stations in Western Australia, many engineers that have qualified in recent years have not had exposure to coal power stations. As a result there is a severe lack of candidates with up-to-date knowledge of the detailed operations and maintenance of coal fired plants.
Operations Managers/Superintendents with coal fired power station experience – Again there is a shortage of suitable candidates with up-to-date knowledge of the detailed operations and maintenance of coal fired plants.
Contract Managers with power station experience – Managers with good exposure to power station operations and knowledge of the commercial aspects of contract delivery are sought.
Generator Electricians – Many electricians with experience on generators often move into the mining industry for more money and therefore leave a gap in the market.
Crane Drivers, Switching Operators and Trades Assistants - Skilled Crane Drivers, Switching Operators and Trades Assistants with the appropriate tickets and authority to work on the Western Power network are needed.
New South Wales:
Site-based construction professionals – The construction of two major renewable solar farm projects has created demand for site-based power plant construction professionals across the EPCM manager level. Site-based professionals from administrators through to project managers are needed.
HV Electricians – With key industrial and distribution projects being finalised before the final leasing of part of the state’s utility networks, HV Electricians are required to undertake the installation and commissioning phases. Projects vary from the iconic Barangaroo site through to industrial substations in remote locations.
Occupational Health and Safety professionals – As projects move into the final stage of the EPC spectrum, more work is being completed onsite. Thus occupational health and safety professionals are in high demand to ensure work is completed safely.
Project Engineers and Project Managers – Large site-based projects have also fuelled a need for Project Engineers and Project Managers, especially in the area of transmission.
Lineworkers – There is a continuous requirement for trained maintenance staff to maintain network efficiency.
Operations/Maintenance Managers – The downturn in design has resulted in a renewed focus on ensuring the reliability and efficiency of existing assets. A number of employers, particularly on the contractor side, are seeking experienced individuals to run teams and deliver projects successfully.
Lineworkers/G&B – The demand for Linesmen/women (especially Certificate 3 qualified) and Glove and Barrier candidates continues to increase, with employers placing more emphasis on finding people with local experience.
Asset Managers – With a focus on maintaining existing assets, employers are focused on hiring key talent to manage contractors.
Contract Engineers – The data, metering and related service industry is expected to see an upturn in work as a result of a rule change request to the SCER. The changes are predicted for April 2015 and will see retailers and service providers increase their need for subject matter technical experts in the metering space. We’ll also see an increase in personnel to cope with the changes.
Live Line Workers - Fully qualified Glove & Barrier Live Line workers are needed in south east Queensland to undertake maintenance on the network.
Line Workers – Central and northern Queensland are undertaking refurbishment and replacement work, which is creating a need for Line Workers.
Secondary Systems Test Technicians – Demand has increased for these candidates but given the specialist skill set required there is a shortage of candidates. The age of Queensland’s assets and the need to upgrade the existing network will see this demand continue.
In Western Australia there are a number of candidates available, and those with a construction background are more likely to be hired given their transferable skills.
Job opportunities in New South Wales are varied across the state. While traditional power generation vacancies will be limited until the finalisation of the privatisation process, transmission and distribution opportunities are available. These roles are mainly temporary assignments.
Meanwhile renewable energy is seeing an upsurge in the state due to the construction of two large-scale utility solar farms. Candidates for these projects are being hired on a temporary basis. A broad variety of positions are available, from site management through to the EPCM structure, which is inclusive of office administration, document control, OHS, environmental, construction supervision and logistical coordination.
However the gap in salary expectations between candidates and employers is a major challenge for both sides, particularly when a candidate is asked to work in a regional area.