Super-charged electrical trainee

benstevens Excellence Awards Finalist

Danielle Main 

Generation Trainee of the Year

Danielle Main’s drive, initiative and proactive approach to achieving her training goals has seen her impress both her trainer and her boss in her role as an operator maintainer for Genesis Energy in Lake Tekapo. 

Her site manager at Genesis Energy, Mark Cain cites a particular example when Danielle showed the initiative to go to the control room and investigate the reason for a generator brake trip, – when she was in her role at the company for just two months. She found the cause of the problem, and promptly confirmed it with a senior operator who was at a remote site. “For a very new employee, this demonstrated considerable initiative and problem-solving ability.” 

Danielle began her training with a pre-trade electrical engineering course at Ara Institute in Christchurch, before starting her electrical apprenticeship at Te Apiti wind farm in Palmerston North then switching to Genesis Energy in Lake Tekapo. She is currently working towards her NZ Certificate in Electrical Trade (Electricity Supply) Level 4, and is completing Genesis’ internal Operator Maintainer Pathway. 

Danielle has been nominated in the QPower-sponsored Generation Trainee of the Year category of the 2021 Connexis Excellence Awards by Paul Bryant, senior operator maintainer for Genesis Energy. 

He says the incident reflects Danielle’s approach to work and study. “She doesn’t wait for things to come to her, and she proactively chases her goals.”  

Danielle is already at an equivalent level to other qualified operators in most areas and is on track to complete her operator training in a third of the expected time, says Paul. “She will be able to take on full standby duties and release other team members to carry out longer-term improvement projects.” 

As part of her role at Lake Tekapo  Danielle is responsible for supervising contractors and work groups that visit the site, ensuring they follow correct processes. She is also enthusiastic about sharing her own experiences with other trainees and pointing them in the right direction. She is an active participant in Girls with Hi-Vis and has delivered presentations at high schools to encourage others into jobs in the energy sector. 

She says industry training has allowed her to “develop my skills to become a better asset to my company and helped improve my understanding of the equipment I work with day-to-day”. She adds that she’d encourage others into training “because it allows for continuous improvement and a sense of satisfaction”.  

And she’s not done yet, though her current role offers plenty of challenges and variety.  

“Here you are an all-rounder, from office/administrative tasks, planning, operating, inspections, and practical electrical jobs,” Danielle says but she has her eye on further training. Next up is completing the Power Technician Qualification and eventually the NZ Diploma in  Engineering Practice.