One day with… Scott, Control and Instrumentation Engineer
Working in an environment that helps you progress
For almost three years now, Scott Hughes has been working as a Control and Instrumentation Engineer in the Maintenance Delivery team at Uniper’s Connah’s Quay Power Station in North Wales. He makes sure the plant is running safely and reliably by maintaining it, writing standards, ensuring statutory work is completed, but also working with contractors, designing and installing new equipment. “My job is really varied. Of course there are repeat tasks I do every day, but it is uncommon for me to have two days that are the same”, he says.
During his apprenticeship, Scott used to live only six minutes down the road of the power station. After finishing his apprenticeship, he got a job in a contract company working on the site, which he was really pleased about as he used to drive past it every day, impressed by its size without knowing too much about it. He spent eight years at Connah’s Quay as a permanent contractor, moved to other companies for a while and came back to the site in 2020 to work for Uniper.
Ever since he started his first job, his interest in the energy business grew. Especially now, with many changes happening in the market – renewables becoming more and more important, the potential of hydrogen and ammonia coming into play – Scott is fascinated by his job. He also experiences the energy transition at Connah’s Quay, as there is a master plan based around low carbon dispatchable power with projects in the pipeline and field studies happening. “It is good to be in a company that’s interested in these areas and that helps me progress my career”, Scott explains. Because after several years in the business, Scott still keeps on wanting to know more because he feels like he can learn something new every day. Uniper and especially his line manager encourage him in that regard, push him to progress at his job and give him the platform to do so.
“My line manager has been really good in pushing me to go down the right routes, and definitely helped me develop over the last three years”, he says. In a yearly review called AMP (Achieving My Potential), his manager sets out targets for Scott that could go from obtaining a qualification, fixing a certain number of jobs or doing a number of job inspections. One of Scott’s objectives for last year was to be accredited with the Institute of Electrical Technology (IET) and achieve the EngTech qualification, which demonstrates that he completes work to a satisfactory standard and follows the right rules and regulations that go along. Uniper paid for the application and membership fees through the COPES scheme, supported him throughout the intense, nine month long process and provided him with a mentor who has done the qualification in the past.
These benefits are not the only thing Uniper offers to encourage their employees. Take the STEM [UI1] (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) ambassador program for example. The purpose of STEM is to encourage young children of all genders and backgrounds into these areas as they could become future engineers. STEM ambassadors also want to encourage young people to do apprenticeships and go to university to learn skills they’ve got. Scott is involved in this program and is an ambassador for his site, which he finds rewarding. Because he did an apprenticeship himself, the topic is quite close to him and he wants to let people know that going to university is not the only way to go. It is possible to become an apprentice and work your way up – just like he did it.