“I walked away from the last event on the last day, thinking I’d tanked it.”
In fact Alex Chandler walked away from his first time as an entrant at Annual Connection as winner of the cable jointing competition.
“I was pretty surprised when they called my name out.”
Annual Connection is a yearly event put together by Connexis | Te Pūkenga as a showcase for skills and expertise in New Zealand’s Electrical Supply Industry. The 2023 event was held in Invercargill in September, hosted by PowerNet.
Alex has been a cable jointer with Connetics in Christchurch for just over three years, making the switch to the supply and distribution side of the energy sector after working as a residential sparky.
“I didn’t actually know what a cable jointer did. I’d been talking to some other guys from Connetics and they made it sound really good, so I was looking for any role I could do with them, as I wasn’t really enjoying what I was doing at the time,” Alex says.
“You don’t really hear about any of the network side of the industry at all. Once I learned more about it, I really enjoyed the idea of working on the high voltage stuff. There’s really only a select few people who get to work on the network, which is great.
“I also really like the technical side of it. As a sparky, joints might take a few minutes, but as a cable jointer we can have joints that last all day.”
When he’s asked what he does by people who don’t know what a cable jointer is, Alex typically explains it as “like a linesman for the underground cables”.
He recommends the job as ideal for people who like to work outside and aren’t put off by a job that requires some physical effort.
“You do have to be fairly fit, but I enjoy that part of it. I’m very practical. I was never one for sitting in the classroom!”
Entering Annual Connection appealed to Alex’s naturally competitive nature, but he also appreciated the opportunity to network with other people working in the electrical supply industry.
“You meet people from lots of other companies and the suppliers. You get to see how they do things and get a picture of how we stack up as a company.”
As for the competition itself Alex says it was much harder than he’d expected. “There’s a stress in not knowing what’s coming each day of the competition, and competing alone is hard. There’s no one to get a second opinion from — and those judges give absolutely nothing away. You certainly get put out of your comfort zone.”
To find out more visit the Annual Connection website.