Media Release: From plumbing to power – a Kyneton resident jumps into a new career

20 March 2019

A Kyneton resident has decided it’s never too late to change careers, with the former plumber landing an apprenticeship at electricity distribution business Powercor.

James Mockunas is one of seven apprentices Victoria-wide, selected from a field of 575 applicants for a sought-after role as either a line worker, electrical fitter, meter technician or underground cable jointer.

Mr Mockunas, who will spend the next four years training to become a line worker, said Powercor offered a lot of opportunity and a supportive environment.

“I have two friends who work at Powercor and they gave me a good insight into working on the powerlines, what I’d be doing and what I was applying for,” Mr Mockunas said.

“They think it’s a great company– the work environment, the supportive environment, job security and the focus on health and safety. The main reasons I wanted to join Powercor is I will have plenty of opportunities to head off in different avenues, and the supportive environment the company offers.

Mr Mockunas, a keen snowboarder, kayaker and hiker, said the job offered more opportunities than “just working on the tools”.

“Being 30 years old and with a family I didn’t think they’d take me on but they did,” Mr Mockunas said.

“Understanding that you’re working for a company that actually looks after you is a big motivation.

“Having a supportive environment and people willing to invest in you – that definitely wants to make me work hard because I know I’m going to be well looked after in the future.”

Mr Mockunas joins 38 current apprentices already undertaking apprenticeships across various depots and trades.

Since 2001, CitiPower Powercor has recruited more than 400 apprentices and trainees. The 2019 cohort was selected following a range of rigorous assessment and recruitment activities – including testing for mechanical, numerical and verbal reasoning, a video and face-to-face interviews and a practical working at heights test.

Powercor General Manager Network Services, Peter Bryant said most field work was performed by internal Powercor employees and this had increased significantly over the past five years.

“We have increased the number of Powercor people working in the field, maintaining and operating a safe and reliable network and these apprenticeships are an important part of building that team.

“The shortlisting and selection process for the new apprentices is extensive and highly competitive.

“Even getting to the selection process was no easy task, with 575 applications received in response to our recruitment campaign late last year.”

“What they all share is a passion for hands-on learning and playing their part in bringing safe and reliable electricity supply to our customers,” Mr Bryant said.

The newest team members are from a range of backgrounds including military training, plumbing, CFA volunteers, hospitality and auto-mechanic roles.

Some have been in the workforce for more than 10 years, while one has just completed his VCE.