Working in the instrumentation and control department of the Ceylon Electricity Board in Sri Lanka, Nadeera Madumal has stepped up to the challenge of fault finding and system maintenance.
I currently work as an instrumentation and control engineer for the Ceylon Electricity Board's (CEB) distributed control system and its turbine and related auxiliary systems. These auxiliary systems include the closed and open cycle cooling water systems, vacuum system, emergency trip system and lube oil system. I also deal with plant start-up testing amongst other things, so there's lots to keep in mind! My role is to keep these systems functioning properly and securely and for them to be as reliable as possible.
This role is my second full-time job. Previously I worked for Ace Power Embilipitiya, which is a 100MW power plant consisting of 14 CAT systems which are 7.4 MW each. I found one year there was enough to gain the necessary experience, as all I needed was to learn all about the workings of one generator because they were identical systems. Then my role was simply to maintain the generators and keep them operating.
The Ceylon role was a tough job to get, as there was a lot of competition - 500 people went for the role, but I got it! Many people in Sri Lanka like to work for governmental companies like the CEB even though the pay is often a little lower than private organisations. This is because they offer professional recognition and the conditions of the facilities are usually very good.
My recommendation to engineering students is to make sure you give it your all in your final year, as this is the most crucial of them all. Make sure you pay attention to everything that year and also give your all to the final project. I also would say that practical experience is crucial to getting a job, so make sure you take as many work placements as you can!
When I first joined the CEB I found the environment quite tough, especially compared to other CEB sites I knew of. This was because I joined a new site and the facilities at the time were poor. Over time everything has fallen into place though and we're on par with other sites. I'm happy with my accommodation however I really would like to have my own car - at the moment I have to use 'common access' vehicles to get about.
I do enjoy working in the power generation field and this area specifically, so would like to continue working in instrumentation and control where possible. I find that my current role is quite interesting as it requires me to use my past experience to troubleshoot any problems I face. This is a challenge I do enjoy.
I've found that my knowledge means I often have to guide my superintendant as well as fellow colleagues if they face problems they cant solve. Sometimes I may need to go to the site to do a visual inspection, but I can usually help them solve most issues. I've also been able to get involved in helping to train new inexperienced workers, so this is another useful thing to add to my CV.
Looking forward at my career, I want to finish my masters in electrical engineering and the end is in sight, as all I have left is to finish my final project. I also want to gain more experience working at this plant as an instrumentation and control engineer.
However, my big plan is to migrate to either Singapore or Australia so I can earn better money. Most of my friends have already migrated to those countries. In order to be able to migrate I must gain some further qualifications as well as have some more experience, but this is my next big goal.