Power generation plant operator


What they do

Power generation plant operators control, maintain and monitor the machines and associated plant equipment used to generate electrical power. This may involve mechanical, electrical or chemical processes. They also compile reports on processes and equipment associated with power generation.

They control the flow of inputs such as water, fuel or chemicals to the operating machinery that generates power in order to increase or decrease power output.

The majority of power generation plant operators in Western Australia work in the Metropolitan, Peel and South West regions.

Specialisations include: Hydro-electric Station Operator

Working conditions

Power generation plant operators often work shift work, which may include nights and weekends. Operators may be required to sit or stand in control rooms or stations for long periods.

Working with plant equipment and chemicals is potentially hazardous, and strict safety procedures and regulations must be followed to minimise the risk of injury.

Tools and technologies

Power generation plant operators need to be familiar with the range of equipment and machinery used in their particular operation. They operate power switches to control boilers and turbines to increase or decrease power output. They work with computerised equipment systems and control boards. Safety equipment such as hardhats, safety glasses, high visibility clothing and safety boots are also often required.

How do I become one?

Education and training

To become a power generation plant operator you may need to complete an Electrical Supply Industry (ESI) Traineeship with a power producer or a contractor to a power producer. The assistant unit controller, unit controller, or systems operator or systems operations technician traineeships usually take 24 to 48 months to complete. These traineeships range from Certificate III to Diploma level.

Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend  time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.

You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Required registration and licensing

To work as a power generation plant operator in Western Australia, you may have to obtain a High Risk Work License issued by WorkSafe.

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