19 May 20

Interacting with Industry

Last week the Year 9 Advanced Technologies-STEM course participants were lucky enough to meet with five leaders from SA Power Networks via Microsoft Teams (Caitlyn McDonald, Brett Hughes, Christopher Rowe, Harry Pavlou and Rod Iremonger). These experts gave the students detailed information about the running of their 2000-person company and the different difficulties they face supplying power to our country.

Christopher Rowe took the students through the overall running of SA power network and how we get power from different power sources such as coal, wind, solar, and hydro energy. Students learnt about the process involved in the production of power in South Australia as well as the different levels of transmission of that power and how it is transformed to the general public for household use. In doing this they broke down the integral workings of the technology that is crucial to the workings of their industry.

Harry Pavlou took the students through the subtle differences that are happening daily with the implementation of new technologies. Harry also detailed the struggle that the company has with people wasting power and how that affects people that do not have enough knowledge to realise how much power they are using. Harry gave the students the formulas to calculate the number of kilowatts of power used per hour for running different appliances and how that can translate to a dollar value at the end.

Caitlyn MacDonald was the expert that took the students through the new technologies that are being used to give us power, read the power and track the power usage. Caitlyn detailed the Salisbury battery trial/Tesla battery trial and how the substation can benefit from this; this was related to how the batteries can be used in the event of power outages and helping the state to become self-reliant rather than relying on Victoria for extra power. Caitlyn also detailed the community involvement in problem areas and the domestic implementation of solar panels and batteries. Detailing the forward planning involved in her position and in particular the planning around the distribution of power when electric cars become far more prominent.

Rod Iremonger detailed the different careers that are involved in SA power networks and the different apprenticeships that are available. From electrician and power line workers to the different engineers that are involved in the distribution and construction of the different aspects of the power production process. Rod talked about how SA power networks have an investment in the training of its staff and the progression of them in their organisation, and what applicants to their apprenticeships need to apply for them.

To finish off, all the experts shared with the students how they started in their working careers, to how they started working for SA Power Network and why, and how they ended up in their current careers, showing students that a person’s career can change over time to be completely different from where they started.

This conference was part of the Bridging the Gap project that Flinders University runs along with industries to bring higher understanding and relevant learning to students in schools.

Watch the video to see how remote technology was used in the classroom:

Travis Laxton – Innovations in Technology Leader