Trainee operator

Full steam ahead for Callide trainee operators

17 Aug 2018

Five Callide employees are the learning the intricacies of how a coal-fired power station works as part of CS Energy’s trainee operator program.

Cameron Habermann, Michael Scoleri, Dale Reid, Stephen Hegarty and Steve Nichols completing the program, which aims to provide a talent pipeline of future operators to prevent skills shortages.

The five trainees are all existing CS Energy employees and will complete a mix of theoretical and practical training to obtain a Licence to operate an advanced boiler and Licence to operate an advanced steam turbine.

For Cameron Habermann, the traineeship is an opportunity for him to learn the theory of boiler and turbine operation from the ground up.

“After leading a maintenance team for more than five years I was looking for a new challenge,” Cameron said.

“When this opportunity came up it seemed the perfect role to challenge me and gain new skills while still staying within the Callide and CS Energy team.”

Prior to starting the traineeship, Dale Reid had also worked in maintenance roles at Callide Power Station.

“Coming from a maintenance background has really helped because the course has shown how important effective maintenance is for the operation of power station units,” Dale said.

“It’s been great to learn the plant theory and then go on shift to put the theory into practice. The guys on shift have been very helpful and have challenged me to expand by boundaries.”

Experienced hands pass on their knowledge

Len Hilton and Troy Lonsdale are delivering the training and registered training organisation Learning Systems Australia will carry out the assessment. 

Len has decades of experience at Callide Power Station where he worked as an operator and a shift supervisor.

“A good operator understands thermodynamics, has the ability to problem solve plant issues and can work well under pressure,” Len said.

The trainees have also benefited from the skills and knowledge of industry veteran Greg Dale, who was seconded to the project earlier this year. Greg has worked at Callide, Mica Creek and Tarong power stations and is now Acting Production Coordinator at Callide.

Simulators a valuable training tool

The trainees are using modern control system simulators as well as an older Callide B simulator to test their theoretical knowledge and complete practical exercises.

Once the trainees have finished the two-year course, they will go on shift as ‘outside operators’ where they will carry out inspections, isolations and preventative routines outside on the plant.

To get their ticket to ‘drive’ the generating units—operating them from inside the power station control room—the trainees will need to complete further training and modules.

Callide trainee operators

Trainee Operator Dale Reid (right) with Acting Training Officer Troy Lonsdale using a control system simulator.