Two student engineers from the Australian Power Institute’s (API) bursary program have been putting their studies into practice at sponsor company CS Energy.

CS Energy is a Queensland Government owned electricity generator with four power stations: Swanbank at Ipswich, Kogan Creek at Chinchilla, Callide at Biloela and Mica Creek at Mount Isa.

Alexander Bletchly and Carl Harch are the latest students to be placed at CS Energy’s stations through their connection with API’s program.

Now in the fourth year of a Bachelor or Engineering Co-Op (Mechanical), Alexander recently completed his second placement with CS Energy. After completing a work placement at Mica Creek in his second year, Alexander was keen to return to the company because of the “supportive work environment” and “diverse power generation portfolio”.

In late 2009 he was based at Swanbank working on a performance review of the air cooled condenser at Kogan Creek.

“The friendly and social work environment helped me easily integrate into the workforce and wider community,” Alexander said. “This was especially beneficial when staying in the smaller country communities of Mount Isa and Chinchilla.”

Alexander, who is also studying a Diploma of Professional Practice (Engineering) said the support of his supervisors had helped him refine his engineering skills.

“I’ve come to understand the diversity and challenges associated with CS Energy’s diverse power portfolio. I’ve seen first-hand how this portfolio is operated, monitored and maintained and been given the opportunity to challenge myself on a range of technical tasks.”

As a Biloela local, Carl has always been fascinated with Callide Power Station and thought a vac prac stint would be the perfect opportunity to learn more about the station and put his studies into practice.

“I’m really enjoying myself at Callide so far,” Carl said. “I am learning a great deal and the people are good to work with.

Student engineers switch on to powerful future

“It’s important for uni students like myself to get practical engineering experience to get a real life insight into what the industry is like.”

And while he sports one of the biggest heads of hair seen around Callide (see picture), Carl said his helmet fits ok.

“I don’t really get much ribbing from my colleagues, although I think the first time I put the helmet on some of them were watching to see if it would fit or not.”