From apprentice to major infrastructure projects

benstevens Excellence Awards Finalist, Industry Excellence Awards Winner

Ben Aynsley 

Advanced Trainee of the Year 

When Ben Aynsley began as an apprentice electrician with Electronet straight out of school, 18 years ago, he didn’t know the role of power system technician existed. He certainly didn’t know that with the right industry training under his belt, he’d become a power system technician working on major infrastructure projects all over NZ. 

One of the things he likes most about his job now is the role he plays in keeping NZ running. “I like being part of large projects that contribute to the development and stability of the national grid,” says Ben, who is based in Greymouth. 

“A power system technician is not a well known job. People may not know that every fault scenario in a power system gets simulated, tested and recorded during the commissioning process,” he says. “The power system technician, along with the project engineer, give the final OK to liven new pieces of high voltage electrical equipment.” 

Ben has been nominated in the PowerNet-sponsored Advanced Trainee of the Year category of the 2021 Connexis Excellence Awards, by Ralph Glasson, Senior Power System Technician for ElectroNet. Ralph says Ben’s diligence, hard work and commitment to his training, in his own time, have presented him with great opportunities within ElectroNet that have taken him from electrical apprentice to where he is now, and on to new challenges in the future. 

“Ben uses his learning in the workplace to help solve problems, from faults to design issues. He can offer suggestions and feedback to engineers and customers that is both practical and theoretically correct,” says Ralph, adding that Ben is very motivated and seeking out training and completing it to a high standard, all with a young family who also need his time and attention. 

 “Ben has always gone about his training very diligently and has completed all his academic training courses on time and often with above average marks,” he says citing, as an example, a recent paper Ben completed through the University of Southern Queensland which he undertook, without prompting, achieving High Distinction, while also completing the commissioning of the Kapuni Solar Farm for Todd Energy. 

Ralph adds that Ben is also very keen to help other trainees with their study, often setting up experiments in the workshop to explain concepts. 

For Ben, training is an ongoing commitment that allows him to keep developing. 

“Continued learning keeps your brain active and challenged. The additional knowledge training provides, allows you to piece together the puzzles you find during challenging jobs at work,” he says. “I plan on continuing on with my study and am aiming to complete an Electrical Engineering degree. From there I want to become a mentor to technicians and electricians starting out in the power system industry at Electronet.”