2017 EIT Outstanding Student Award Runner-up
Course completed: Advanced Diploma of Electrical Engineering (Electrical System)
Date of completion: October 2017
My name is Jared Stone, and I’m employed at Western Power as a Primary Plant Technician, part of our Asset Management Business unit.
Having come on board originally as part of Western Power’s apprentice program in 2011, I successfully completed my training in a shorter timeframe than originally planned whilst also completing further studies during the same period.
After my apprenticeship I sought to begin further studies, and after commencing my degree in October of 2015 I’m proud to say I’ve successfully completed the studies.
I’m an automotive enthusiast, and enjoy playing drums with my band in my spare time.
Experience at EIT
The highlights of my experience whilst studying at EIT were namely flexibility and suitability.
I could tailor to suit me and my varying needs over the time of my course, which would’ve been incompatible with almost any other format of delivery. The flexibility of largely self-paced study and recorded webinars allowed me to work my study efforts into my schedule whilst still remaining within the full-time workforce and still able to pursue my personal passions.
What I found during my time was that the content broadly swept across many different specialties within industry, leading me to conduct further self-guided study when a topic of particular interest was raised such as high voltage testing, protection systems, or battery energy storage.
The use of 100% online technologies to deliver the content in multiple ways meant that sound communication channels were extremely important when the objective of an assessment wasn’t clear, or the content was beyond my understanding. It was at these points that being able to reach out to lecturers at my leisure and hear back from them in a timely manner was great, as it meant that touch of extra support or guidance was never far away at all times.
What I found challenging about managing my way through the course was largely balancing work, music, volunteering, and family commitments with the study, which I was successful in thanks to the flexibility of the course delivery methods and course coordinators who helped me with deadlines or administrative support.
Aside from this conducting group work over multi-month projects was extremely challenging at times. As group members all worked for different employers, had different methods of available communication, and were even governed by different time zones!
Whilst this proved to be challenging, being able to lead my group project through its various stages, successfully submit assessments before deadlines, and produce great results thanks to excellent time management, teamwork, and communication was satisfying to look back on.
EIT in the workplace
Knowledge gained from the program is employed on an almost day-to-day basis in my current position with my employer. I’ve found myself calling on almost every part of the content covered during the degree, be it the various types of maintenance regimes, attributes of network assets, or planning and implementing process plans.
One particular point to note is that many parts of the knowledge gained during the course of the degree is now assisting me to be a part of the drive to sustainably reduce the cost of managing our network assets. Prior to the course I didn’t have a grasp of asset life cycle assessments, or why they were essential when considering design, procurement, installation, maintenance, and disposal of assets.
For example understanding trades-offs between capital cost of products and forecast maintenance requirements has allowed me to look beyond what I saw as ‘the way it is’ during my time in the field, and indeed forms part of initiatives to drive down overall business costs.
Aside from the technical knowledge, learning the fundamentals of professional engineering and project management during my time in the degree is proving to be of great use. Having learnt how to better collate information, communicate with others, and collaborate across differing professional backgrounds is allowing me to take in more diverse types of information, and consider many perspectives different to my own in the course of my work.
My successful completion of the course over time was eventually intrinsically linked to receiving an offer of a promotion within my company to my current position.
As my current team leader was made aware of the potential of me joining his team as a technician he pointed out that it was excellent to see I would still continue to study and develop my knowledge in a formal manner whilst taking up the role.
If it wasn’t for having been enrolled in the course and actively studying, it would’ve been far harder to prove to my management team that I had great potential to be a part of their local workforce, and contribute good work.
Colleague / Mentor Neil Kilcullen:
“Since I first met Jared as an apprentice he’s always shown great interest in going above and beyond what is required of him in his work and learning. During the time that he’s been studying at EIT I’ve seen him gain knowledge at such a rate and apply in ways that I now see him as less of a mentee and far more as a capable workmate in engineering roles that I am sure he’ll occupy in the future.
I look forward to seeing Jared continuing to seek out new opportunities that his education will now provide to him.”
Training and career goals for the next 5 years...
My overarching goal for 5 years and beyond is to continue to seek both on-the-job and off-the-job training to develop both my breadth of depth of skills and knowledge at a rate that helps me to add value to both my employer, and my community.
In my current role with my employer my goals are to learn the philosophies, strategies, and practices of asset management then successfully implement those learnings in my day-to-day work.
My training goals centre around diversifying my fields of knowledge and capabilities, namely in business and project management.
Having spent several years in the operational workforce initially as an Apprentice, and then as a tradesman performing technical work I’m now planning to pursue these diverse studies to become a flexible, multi-skilled member of the workforce.
Aside from my professional work I hope to continue carrying out activities and engagements as a public speaker and ambassador for youth mental health, and the learning that comes from these pursuits will continue to bolster my leadership skills in and out of the workplace.