Electrical Control & Instrumentation Apprentice

Mark Hopper

A Day in the Life of...

Mark Hopper - EC&I apprentice at Ratcliffe Power Station

6.45am - Bleep bleep bleep... I am woken up by my alarm. A quick check of the weather forecast to see if it is worth getting up to cycle into work or whether I should spend another half an hour in bed and drive. I would prefer to have the extra half an hour in bed, but where is the exercise in that?

7am - It’s breakfast time.  As the crumpets are toasting I make up some sandwiches for lunch.

7.15am - Time to leave for the 25 minute cycle to Ratcliffe power station.

7.40am - I store my bike in the cycle parking building and walk to the changing rooms.  I have quick shower and change into my overalls - feeling refreshed to start the day's work.

8am - I arrive at my supervisor's desk along with the rest of the Electrical, Control & Instrumentation team, where I am put with either the Electrical or C&I craftspeople.  I work alongside skilled professionals who are really experienced in the power industry. We will be allocated a job that needs doing.  The jobs we carry out are extremely varied,  I could be calibrating a pressure transmitter using the latest technology to keep it within tolerance, then I could go on to installing thermocouples – a temperature measuring device – on the steam turbines possibly followed by maintaining electrical or pneumatic actuators which are the motors that move the mechanisms; when all that is done, there is an 11kV high voltage circuit breaker to maintain .

10am - Break, it’s tea and snack time.  I normally go to the mess room and catch up with my colleagues

10.15am - Back to the job in hand, I am constantly learning new skills, whilst gaining valuable knowledge and experience every day.  The people I work with are a great bunch and very keen to teach me.

12.15pm - Lunch time, back to the mess room to eat my sandwiches and have a drink. We also have access to a couple of canteens so there are a lot of options available.

12.45pm - We continue to work hard to complete our job that day.  

4pm - Time to finish for the day and report to our supervisor of our progress; occasionally, the work might be a large job and take more than one day to complete.  Nevertheless, I do get to see the job through and get the buzz of success when handing a completed job card back to the supervisor. Then I head back to the changing rooms.  I have shower and get changed back into my cycling gear for the bike ride home.

4.30pm - I arrive back home and knuckle down to get some college assignments and NVQ work reports complete.  It is great that I am going to college as my course provides me with a lot of theoretical knowledge which I can put into practice at the power station.  I also go to the E.ON Engineering Academy where we do practical classes in engineering subjects and this is really great in terms of preparing me for the future.

6pm - Tea time. Chicken pie today, I think.  I make tea and clear away.  Now it’s time to relax for the evening.

9.30pm - Bedtime.  Night Night.