Electrical Control & Instrumentation Trainee

dan fairchild

A Day in the Life of…

Daniel Fairchild – Electrical Control and Instrumentation Pathway Trainee

5am - The morning alarm sounds and it’s time to get up and eat a bit of breakfast before getting ready for work. 

5.45am - It’s time to set off for my commute down the M1.  Most of the time I am at Ratcliffe power station, but sometimes I am at the neighbouring E.ON Engineering Academy for practical classes in engineering subjects which is great in terms of preparing me for the future.

6.45am I arrive at Ratcliffe and park the car, then have ten minutes to get changed into the correct PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) ready to start the day.

7am - I report to the maintenance desk, where the supervisors issue jobs to the engineers and organise who will be working together for the day. This includes apprentices  and trainees.  There are two teams that I usually work with while on the learning program, the electrical team and the control & instrumentation (C&I) team. 

7.10am - The engineer I’m working with discusses what the assigned job entails and how to prepare for it. The top priority is safety, which may involve permits to work, PPE, risk assessments, emergency procedures and informing the power station’s operations team about the apparatus  we intend to work on.  Our preparation might also include tools and equipment needed to complete the work or relevant paperwork, like circuit diagrams and location diagrams. 

7.30am - I head to the designated location of work within the power station. First things first, I make sure all the safety precautions have been followed. Then I start working with the engineer.  The type of work varies dependent on which team I am with.  With the electrical team I could be fault finding, carrying out planned maintenance work or running routine tests on electric motors, generators, transformers, switchgear, panel wiring with general electrical components, circuit breakers or Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs), whereas with the C&I team I might do this on pressure level and flow C&I, temperature C&I, water and gas C&I or actuators C&I.

10.15am Time for a tea break. This allows me to grab something to eat and drink and socialise with my colleagues. If any extra equipment or spare parts are needed I get them now before I head back out to the job. 

10.30am – I regroup with my working party.  I am constantly learning new skills, whilst gaining valuable knowledge and experience every day.  The people I work with are a great team and very keen to teach me. 

12.15pm - Lunch. Ratcliffe has two canteens to choose from with great facilities. Both offer extremely nice food. I often use this time to catch up on any ongoing training or revision work like the NVQ, using the student computers around the site. 

12.45pm – Time to regroup with my working party again.  We head back up to the power station and I try to complete my job card.

2.40pm - I start to wind down for the day by filling out my maintenance reports then return to the maintenance desk to speak with the supervisors. I explain to them my work situation, whether it’s ‘JC’ (job complete) or ‘IP’ (in progress).  When the supervisor is happy and once all the engineers have returned,  I am marked out and head to have a shower. 

3pm - Home time, so I return to the car and prepare to set off back up the M1. 

4.30pm - I’m home and ready to enjoy the rest of the day, going to the gym then just chilling out.