New apprentices boost local services

TEN new apprentices have started work at Country Energy field service centres in the Far North Coast region this year, strengthening local service delivery teams and adding to the 720 apprentices employed by the utility since 2001.

The apprentices, who have recently completed an intensive three-week induction training camp at Grafton's purpose-built apprentice training centre, are among 59 new apprentice powerline workers, electrical technicians, cable jointers and substation electrical technicians who commenced work across regional and coastal NSW this year.

Country Energy encourages regional development and jobs growth - in Grafton alone the utility has more than 150 employees working at the regional office, field service centre, customer service centre, stores facility, training centre, accounts payable department and help desk.

New Far North Coast regional general manager, Richard Wake said the induction training was designed by Country Energy to give the apprentices the skills and confidence to work safely and operate equipment they'll use on the job

In welcoming the recruits, Richard said employment with Country Energy was an opportunity the apprentices should grab with both hands, as they would receive top quality training and their positions could lead to a lifetime career.

“A robust workforce that knows the local region, is a part of the community, and is skilled and knowledgeable makes good business sense,” Richard said.

“By providing new career opportunities we're helping to develop locally-based, qualified people, while establishing a foundation for long-term employment in the region.”

He said his own career was a good example of the opportunities Country Energy could provide.

Originally from Narromine in Central Western NSW, Richard has more than 25 years experience in the electricity industry. He started as a 16-year-old apprentice electrician in Dubbo and his most recent position was as regional general manager of Country Energy's South Western Region, working out of Albury.

Now based in Grafton, Richard oversees the area north to Tweed Heads and west to the Great Dividing Range.

“I'm really looking forward to ensuring we continue to contribute to the area's development and maintain our strong links with customers and the community in general.”

Richard has completed a diploma in management at Charles Sturt University, in addition to gaining an electrical trades certificate, refrigeration & air-conditioning trades certificate and electrical engineering certificate.

For more information about the apprenticeship program visit www.countryenergy.com.au/apprentices.



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