Electrical Generating Systems Technician

Job description

Electrical Generating Systems Technicians provides electrical power generation support to operational units.

The Electrical Generating Systems Technician is one of the seven Construction Engineering occupations involved in the supply of all construction, civil, electrical and mechanical engineering services in support of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) operations worldwide. The primary responsibilities of the Electrical Generating Systems Technicians are to:

  • Install, operate, maintain and repair mobile electrical generators and associated control equipment
  • Install, operate, maintain and repair power plant electrical generators and associated control equipment
  • Install, operate and maintain engine prime movers associated with equipment driven by Construction Engineers
  • Install, operate, maintain and repair Static Uninterruptable Power Systems and Rotary Uninterruptable Power Systems
  • Overhaul electrical generation systems and equipment
  • Produce designs and specifications
  • Produce mechanical and electrical drawings
  • Perform brazing/welding and machining work

Transcript

ELECTRICAL GENERATING SYSTEMS TECHNICIAN

IN THE CANADIAN FORCES

LEWIS: In the Canadian Forces, the strength of the military often depends on electrical power – if the lights and the radios and the radar go out, that can mean troops in trouble.

I’m Master Corporal Dave Lewis from Holyrood, Newfoundland – I’m an Electrical Generating Systems Technician at CFB Petawawa, Base Construction Engineering Section.

And I’m Corporal Jory Nason from Fredericton Junction, New Brunswick. I’m an Electrical Generating Systems Technician currently posted at CFB Winnipeg.

It’s our job to make sure that the current never stops flowing.

TITLE:

ELECTRICAL GENERATING SYSTEMS TECHNICIAN

IN THE CANADIAN FORCES

LEWIS: When you’re on the line and off the grid, keeping the power going 24/7 is crucial to mission success – and to the safety of our Canadian soldiers and air crews.

You’re pretty much going to be responsible for the operation, maintenance, installation of anything from generator sets, uninterruptible power supplies, frequency converters, motor generators…

NASON: On a day-to-day basis, we pretty much do preventative maintenance – we go around, we check the generators, check the oil, check the coolant, load-test them. We just pretty much make sure they’re in a fully operational order. Most of it is pretty much: make sure when the lights go out, the power comes back on, and that’s our job.

Whether you’re in the Regular Force or the Reserves, EGS Techs are the hands-on experts who know everything about the machinery that converts mechanical power into electrical voltage.

Well, we put diesel fuel in the tank and it kinda comes up and goes in the engine, and turns the crank, kinda turns the alternator, and this power comes out the other side. So it’s kinda neat to see this liquid going in one end and see the light bulb come on at the other end and know how it goes from start to finish.

I like the mechanics part, I get to work on the engines, and the people you meet are absolutely amazing. So I couldn’t ask for a better crew and – you’re never bored with the job, ‘cause one day you’re doing oil change, the next day you’re using your mind and doing something with components or computers or something. So there’s always something going on with it that’s a new and exciting experience.

LEWIS: If joining our small group of EGS Techs sounds attractive to you, you’ll need to build up a solid base of knowledge in math and physics, and have a strong interest in machinery, electricity, and how they fit and work together.

NASON: After your basic military training, you’ll head to Gagetown, New Brunswick for six months of intensive, hands-on learning at the School of Military Engineering.

LEWIS: They’ll teach you the theory – and the reality – of power systems, electrical grids, fixed and mobile generators: how they work, how to set them up, and how to fix them when the gremlins take over.

For the final exam, they show you a working generator and then they take it apart – to graduate, you have to rebuild the electrical and the mechanical systems, hook it up, and make it work again.

NASON: But the real final exam comes when you’re deployed overseas – or to a remote region of Canada where the only electric power is generated by the gear we haul in with us.

Up in Alert, we are the prime power, there’s no 800-km extension cord from the closest place. If we ever go down, she gets pretty dark, cold and cranky up there.

LEWIS: I was actually in Kandahar – I was the primary technician on the camp for six months. So it was just myself looking after a power plant of four generators. You have the environment to deal with, the intense heat, the sand. They are the prime power for the camp – we need to maintain that power at all times.

NASON: When the guys come back from being out in the field, they can have a nice hot shower. We have the generators to run the kitchens so they can have a nice hot meal and stuff –

LEWIS: But we also take pride in the ability to see the happiness in the soldiers’ faces when they can come back to the camp, you know, send off an email to their family, to their kids. So it gives us a good sense of pride to be able to do that.

NASON: The best part of the job is when the light comes back on - gives you a good, warm feeling knowing that you did something to make a difference for the better of all.

TITLE:

ELECTRICAL GENERATING SYSTEMS TECHNICIAN

IN THE CANADIAN FORCES

Overview

Working environment

Electrical Generating Systems Technicians are members of the Air Force but may be assigned to work in the Army or Navy environment as members of the Construction Engineering team.

Pay and career development

The starting salary of a fully trained Electrical Generating Systems Technician is $49,400 per year; however, depending on previous experience and training the starting salary may be higher. They are initially posted to a Construction Engineering team in a location within Canada. Electrical Generating Systems Technicians who demonstrate the required ability, dedication and potential are selected for opportunities for career progression, promotion and advanced training. Electrical Generating Systems Technicians with the required qualifications and attain the rank of Sergeant would be eligible to train as a Construction Engineering Superintendent.

Related civilian occupations

  • Power Plant Operator
  • Industrial Mechanic
  • Industrial Electrical Technician
  • Certified Engineering Technician (Mechanical/Electrical)

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Training

Basic military qualification

The first stage of training is the Basic Military Qualification course, or Basic Training, held at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. This training provides the basic core skills and knowledge common to all trades. A goal of this course is to ensure that all recruits maintain the CAF physical fitness standard; as a result, the training is physically demanding.

Basic occupational qualification training

Electrical Generating Systems Technicians attend the Canadian Forces School of Military Engineering in Gagetown, New Brunswick. Training takes approximately 22 weeks and includes:

  • Environmental skills such as defensive tactics and firearms
  • Care and use of common and special purpose tools and test equipment
  • Application of occupational codes and regulations
  • Interpretation of drawing and schematics
  • Physics, mechanical, electrical and electronic principles
  • Uninterruptable power systems
  • Mobile and fixed electrical generators
  • Electrical generation control and monitoring systems
  • Prime movers (engines)
  • Engine controllers
  • Brazing and welding techniques

Specialty training

Electrical Generating Systems Technicians may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training, including:

  • Operation, maintenance and repair of Uninterruptable power systems
  • Electrical switchgear and Programmable logic controllers
  • Relocatable temporary camp generator course

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Entry plans

Required education

The minimum required education to apply for this position is the completion of the provincial requirements for Grade 10 or Secondaire IV in Quebec including Grade 10 academic math or math 436 in Quebec. Foreign education may be accepted.

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Part-time option

This occupation is available part-time within the following environment: Air Force

Serve with the Reserve Force

This position is available for part-time employment with the Primary Reserve at certain locations across Canada. Reserve Force members usually serve part time with a military unit in their community, and may serve while going to school or working at a civilian job. They are paid during their training. They are not posted or required to do a military move. However, they can volunteer to move to another base. They may also volunteer for deployment on a military mission within or outside Canada.

Part-time employment

Electrical Generating Systems Technicians may serve with the Canadian Army or the Royal Canadian Air Force. They are employed to provide electrical power generation support for CAF training and operations. Those employed on a part-time or casual full-time basis usually serve at a military base, wing or unit located within Canada.

Reserve Force training

Reserve Force members are trained to the same level as their Regular Force counterparts. They usually begin training with their home unit to ensure that they meet the required basic professional military standards. Following basic military training, occupational training for Electrical Generating Systems Technicians takes approximately 22 weeks and is conducted at the Canadian Forces School of Military Engineering in Gagetown, New Brunswick.

Working environment

Reserve Force members usually serve part-time with their home unit for scheduled evenings and weekends (Air Reserve Electrical Generating Systems Technicians usually serve up to 12 days per month in a regular work day), although they may also serve in full-time positions at some units for fixed terms, depending on the type of work that they do. They are paid 85 percent of Regular Force rates of pay, receive a reasonable benefits package and may qualify to contribute to a pension plan.

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