Meet Ailish McLaughlin
What's your job title?
I am a Graduate Electrical Engineer working as a Small Scale Generation Planner.
What degree did you study?
I studied (MEng) Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Queens University, Belfast and graduated in July 2013.
Why did you choose this degree?
I decided to study Electrical and Electronic Engineering because I quite enjoyed Maths and Physics at school and liked problem solving and thinking outside the box. My A Level physics teacher also highlighted the excellent career opportunities within Electrical Engineering especially for women.
How did you get your job?
During my degree, I applied to NIE Networks for a placement year out and went for an interview. I was successful at the interview and carried out a 15 month work placement where I worked within the research and development department on several different projects. After my placement, I returned to University to finish my degree and in my final year I saw that NIE Networks were advertising for graduate engineers. I immediately applied for the role as I thoroughly enjoyed my placement and the opportunities it presented. I went for an interview and was successful. I started working for NIE Networks in my current role in August 2013.
What’s a normal day like for you?
A normal day for me can vary depending on the different aspects of my job - some days I am walking across fields and other days I am sitting in the office!
As an SSG planner, I get allocated different generation applications. As soon as I get one, I will arrange a site visit with the customer. When I go out on site, I speak with the customer about how to connect the generator to the network grid. Each site is different, some may require a new section of overhead line to be built and some may need a cable off a pole.
After the site visit, I will return to the office and create a quotation for the work that will be needed to connect the generator. I send this out to the customer and if the customer accepts the quotation, I carry out further work to get the job progressed through to final construction.
What attracted you to NIE Networks?
I wanted to work for NIE Networks because it has many possibilities. It has many different areas to work in so you can gain a wide range of experience whether it is in assets, construction or management.
What are the best things about your job?
The thing I like best about my job is the great people I work with. Everyone within my department is so helpful and from this I have learnt a great deal about the electricity infrastructure, how the company deals with customers and also the internal processes for various aspects.