Helping more women electrify their careers

12 September, 2022

CitiPower, Powercor and United Energy is fostering the next generation of women in electrical engineering by offering an industry-leading scholarship to university students to progress their careers within the industry.

The scholarship offers $10,000 annually, towards the final two or three years of an Electrical Engineering Bachelors or Masters Degree at a number of leading Victorian universities, including RMIT, University of Melbourne and Swinburne University.

It also offers a 12-week summer placement at CitiPower, Powercor and United Energy, along with mentoring opportunities with experienced electrical engineers within our business.

In 2022 we have awarded two electrical engineering students the scholarship, Gauri Sambare and Aparna Subramaniam.

RMIT electrical engineering student Gauri Sambare was the first to be awarded the scholarship in 2022, kickstarting her path towards a career, which already has strong family ties.

Her father Dhananjay is an established electrical engineer, working across the sector including at distribution businesses in several states.

Ms Sambare said her dad has been a strong influence on her career choice.

“I always really liked design and I was always good at math, so I thought engineering as a good way to combine these strengths and interests,” Ms Sambare said.

“My dad would always talk about his work and talk to me about what he’s doing. He really likes teaching me. I we ever go past powerlines or a substation, he will try to teach me about it.”

“So, I always knew if I was to go into engineering, I would always choose electrical because I could be mentored by my dad at any time.”

With a strong interest in renewable energy and also leadership and management, Ms Sambare said she was excited about joining CitiPower, Powercor and United Energy for the 12 week placement during the summer of her penultimate year.

“There’s not many scholarship programs like this one. Normally they come up for graduates, but I saw this was for second-year students and I just thought ‘wow, what an opportunity’,” Ms Sambare said.

“I really appreciated the scholarship being made available just for women too, which was nice to see as it encourages, and especially supports girls with the process of stepping up in the engineering field.”

Ms Sambare said the scholarship would make an enormous difference.

“It’s amazing. The financial support is really great because now I don’t really need to have a part time job as much, so I can focus on my education and get better grades.”

“I’m just really grateful for this opportunity and to gain an insight into the industry, network, meet people and see how it all works.”

Melbourne University Masters of Electrical Engineering student, Aparna Subramaniam, was also awarded a  scholarship under the program, and said she was looking forward to the opportunity.

Following an undergraduate in Perth which touched on engineering but also political science, Ms Subramaniam began her Masters in Melbourne with a firm view on the career she wanted.

“I’m really interested in sustainability and the environment and with electrical engineering, in terms of sustainability and renewable energy, there’s a lot of overlap there,” Ms Subramaniam said.

“I did some research online when the scholarship came up and CitiPower, Powercor and United Energy seemed like a really sustainably-minded organisation, so that was one of the reasons I applied.”

Since being awarded the scholarship this year, both women have visited our Market St office as part of an introduction to the business. Both caught up with program sponsor and General Manager, Regulation, Renate Vogt, and met with their mentors who’ll support them throughout their degree, sharing industry and career insights supporting them to be in the best position to kickstart their careers.

CitiPower, Powercor and United Energy Head of Organisational Development, Narelle Beurle, said the two new recipients are part of eight scholarships recipients under the program to date since 2017, with five having completed their studies and three still undertaking their studies.

“We’ve gone on to hire two of the five recipients, which is just fantastic to have such talented graduates join our business, and to provide them with a great start to their electrical engineering career,” Ms Beurle said.