Electrical & Control Technician

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Dear Applicant

Thank you for your interest in applying to the E & C Technician’s position. Applying for and starting a new job can present unique challenges. At Ontario Power Generation (OPG) we would like to help make this transition as smooth as possible. It is important for us at OPG to provide you with a complete description of what you can expect to experience as an E & C Technician’s position. To do this, we have developed a document called the Realistic Job Preview (RJP). In this RJP, you will find up-to-date job information that pertains to all aspects of the Electrical and Control Technician job including information about the positive and negative aspects (i.e., the rewards and challenges) of the job. Our goals in providing you with this RJP are the following:

  • Achieving a better fit between you and the job – You can review information in this document to determine whether you are willing and able to cope with the job’s demands
    and whether you will find this job satisfying. We hope that the information in this document will help you make an informed decision about whether this job is for you.
  • Providing you with realistic expectations of the job – Our hope is that information about the job will help you form accurate expectations of it. We hope that such an
    understanding will foster a mutually satisfying working relationship.

If you have had previous exposure to OPG or to other E & C Technician’s position, you may already have some knowledge about the job. However, we still require all applicants to read this document carefully, in its entirety before applying for the Electrical & Control Technician position.


Contents of this Realistic Job Preview

All information contained in this document is based on a detailed analysis of the Electrical & Control
Technician job and has been collected directly from individuals who are currently working as Electrical & Control Technicians.

This RJP includes the following:

  1. OVERVIEW OF THE HIRING PROCESS – describes the eligibility criteria and the steps of the selection process.
  2. LIFE AS A NEW ELECTRICAL & CONTROL TECHNICIAN – describes information important to being a new Electrical & Control Technician.
  3. OVERVIEW OF THE JOB – provides a description of duties, amount of work, work schedules, and level of responsibility.
  4. TRAINING AND CAREER OPPORTUNITIES – provides an overview of the training requirements and professional opportunities available within OPG for Electrical & Control Technicians.
  5. PAY AND BENEFITS – describes monetary and non-monetary incentives.
  6. SUPERVISION – provides a description of the type of supervision to be expected on the job.
  7. PHYSICAL WORKING ENVIRONMENT – describes the physical environment within which a Electrical & Control Technician has to work.
  8. CRITITCAL SUCCESS FACTORS – provides a list of those factors critical for success and satisfaction as a Electrical & Control Technician.
  9. OPG CONTACT INFORMATION

Overview of the Hiring Process

“What can I expect when applying for the job?”

STEP 1: Vacancy is advertised. All applicants must submit an application online.

STEP 2: All applicants will be reviewed to determine if they meet the following minimum criteria:

  • A Grade 12 Ontario Secondary School Diploma (or equivalent), plus completion of a minimum 2 year recognized community college program in Electrical, Instrumentation & Control or Electronics, plus a minimum of 3 years experience in a related field.
  • A Grade 12 Ontario Secondary School Diploma (or equivalent), plus completion of A Certificate of Qualification in Industrial Electrician, Construction & Maintenance Electrician, or Instrumentation Technician.
  • Applicants must be eligible to work in Canada

STEP 3: Testing

  • Qualified applicants may be invited to a testing session (2 to 3 hours long), where they will be tested via an on line process, assessing areas such as diagnosis and problem solving, as well as safety consciousness.
  • Should you wish to practice some ability tests, please visit the SHL website at: http://www.shldirect.com/
  • Candidates need to pass these tests in accordance with the minimum criteria required for the job.

STEP 4: Interview – Those candidates who are successful at the testing phase may be invited to attend a structured, behaviour-based interview.

  • The interview will consist of a series of job-related, structured questions. With structured questions, all candidates are asked the same questions and evaluated against the same job-related criteria as other candidates.
  • The questions are behavior-based – candidates are asked to provide examples of how they have dealt with various job-related scenarios in the past to demonstrate that they have the relevant experience.
  • The interview will be approximately 1.5-2 hours in length. Time will be allotted at the end of the interview for applicants to ask questions related to the E & C Technician job, and any issues discussed in this RJP.

STEP 5: Short-listed candidates will be notified of any further selection requirements such as the following:

  • Security checks: Applicants must successfully pass a security clearance check.
  • Medical requirements: Applicants must complete a medical information questionnaire.
  • Reference checks: Applicants’ references will be checked.

Life as a New E & C Technician

“What happens when I first start working at OPG?”

TRAINING FOR NEW JOB INCUMBENTS: Training is an integral and on-going part of the OPG culture. OPG’s commitment to training is apparent in the fact that OPG provides new employees with extensive training at the outset of their jobs. All tools, equipment, and training are provided by OPG as part of the job. As well, personnel are continually scheduled for training throughout their employment at OPG.

When new job incumbents begin working at OPG, they must complete a training program, consisting of a series of general and trade-specific courses, prior to being deemed qualified to work on certain tasks as an E & C Technician. The E & C Technician’s job is a dual-trade position. As such, though job incumbents enter with skills in one area, they receive additional training to become qualified to work in an additional area. This training is mandatory even for those with extensive prior training, certification, and/or experience. Training courses themselves, last a full days (i.e., 8 hours per day).

GENERAL TRAINING: New employees begin by receiving orientation, safety, and
science fundamentals training. This training lasts for one month.

  • General training consists of in-class training that is non-trade specific. Specifically, training is received in science fundamentals (e.g., training in thermal dynamics, chemistry, CANDU reactors), safety (e.g., radiation protection, work protection, general safety when working with thermal and nuclear materials,
    WHMIS, and training on OPG’s Corporate Safety Rules). Such training qualifies workers to understand basic nuclear facility systems, station operations, etc

INITIAL CORE SKILLS TRAINING (TRADE SPECIFIC): Training is also provided in trade-specific areas of control maintenance. This core training is conducted in two blocks. The first block of training consists of initial core skills training.

  • General training consists of in-class training that is non-trade specific. Specifically, training is received in science fundamentals (e.g., training in thermal dynamics, chemistry, CANDU reactors), safety (e.g., radiation protection, work protection, general safety when working with thermal and nuclear materials,
    WHMIS, and training on OPG’s Corporate Safety Rules). Such training qualifies workers to understand basic nuclear facility systems, station operations, etc

TESTING: All new candidates must complete written and practical evaluation tests
to be deemed fully qualified as an E & C Technician.

TRAINING WORKLOAD: Trainees find the training workload to be very
manageable. If trainees already have substantial prior work experience/training,
they will find the training easy.

PROBATIONARY PERIOD: The first three months as a new E & C Technician are
considered to be a “probationary period” for the new employee. However, the
probationary period may be extended to six months, if required. Mandatory union
membership and access to OPG benefits are provided during this period. Pension
plan enrolment begins upon completion of the probationary period.


Overview of the Job

“What is the job?”

Below is a broad description of the duties and other characteristics (e.g., work
schedule, work load) of an E & C Technician’s job. The overview is not meant to be
exhaustive in its description. Rather, the duties and characteristics described
provide a summary of some of the key aspects of the E & C Technician job.

Job Duties

Following are some of the duties carried out by E & C Technicians:

MAINTENANCE OF ELECTRONICS/INSTRUMENTATION/ELECTRICAL
EQUIPMENT:
The majority of E & C Technician duties require inspection, preventative maintenance, and repairing of faulty instrumentation, electronics, or electrical equipment. In order to complete the job effectively, E & C Technicians continually monitor for and diagnose problems. Monitoring requires regular surveillance work (at times, 90% of E & C Technician work consists of troubleshooting/repair, calibration work, and weekly, monthly, and yearly routines
(called “call-ups”)). As is the nature of this trade’s work, such work can be repetitious. E & C Technicians should be comfortable doing such repetitive work.

TROUBLESHOOTING: Some troubleshooting may be required to identify the cause of a fault that has been detected. However, even when troubleshooting, OPG policies and procedures must be followed closely. Upon identification of a problem, E & C Technicians would gather the relevant information to file work requests for repairs. Although other work groups (e.g., Engineers), might devise the plan to fix a fault, in some cases, E & C Technicians can also generate possible solutions to fix the fault. Based on the plan devised, E & C Technicians would be responsible for
carrying out the repairs.

TRAINING OTHERS: Experienced E & C Technicians are responsible for training
and/or coaching new employees. These E & C Technicians might be required to
mentor and/or assist members of their work crew until the individual is deemed to be
fully qualified and capable of working confidently and safely.

DOCUMENTATION AND HOUSEKEEPING: Every work shift, E & C Technicians are required to complete documentation about the status of their work, equipment, and processes. Such administrative work can take several hours in a day depending on the volume of work being completed or the nature of the problems. E & C Technicians may also be required to develop new procedures and/or revise existing ones. As such, E & C Technicians would need strong communication skills to
write/document new procedures, and they must be comfortable working with computers.

POLICY ADHERENCE: Strict adherence to all policies and procedures is required in
order to complete repairs, maintain a safe job site, and to proactively manage the safety of all individuals, the plant, and the public. OPG is highly procedurally driven in order to meet federally regulated nuclear licensing requirements and to proactively manage the safety of all individuals (in the plant, and the community) because they recognize the benefits of working safely. At OPG safety is good business as they strive for an injury free workplace. As such, E & C Technicians must be comfortable adhering to procedures. At times, such adherence to policies and procedures results in significant delays to work completion (e.g., work has to be approved by several authorities prior to proceeding with work). Multi-tasking, patience in dealing with
significant delays, and being able to manage time to accommodate these delays is critical.

Job Characteristics

Additional, important aspects of the E & C Technician job are described below.

WORKLOAD AND PACE: The pace of work can vary by Crew and/or by shift. As such, E &C Technicians have to be comfortable working at a varying pace. Despite our ongoing efforts to mitigate delays, they can sometimes occur. This is an important process for the E & C Technicians to take a leading role in, and to improve the processes in place with the support of their team and managers. E & C Technicians will at times have to be able to work quickly and in a timely fashion if another work group’s task schedule is dependent on their work. It is extremely important to note that safety concerns are paramount at OPG, and employees are never expected to compromise safety while trying to complete a task quickly. Despite this type of varying workload and pace, the workload is typically reasonable given the time allotted for each job.

JOB VARIETY: With minor variations between Crews, much of the E & C Technician
work requires following procedures and doing routine maintenance work. Thus, the tasks can be repetitive.

COWORKERS: E & C Technicians are required to regularly work with other workers.
As a new hire, an E & C Technician is paired with an experienced E & C Technician. As well, E & C Technicians work on a Crew – each Crew consists of multiple OPG employees who have varying skills/professional backgrounds. Aside from their own work Crew, E & C Technicians have to interact with members from other work groups (e.g., co-ordinate work with Operations or Mechanical Technician). As such, E & C Technicians have to be comfortable working cooperatively with a variety of people.

WORKPLACE ACCOMMODATIONS: Alternate work arrangement policies are in
place for women who are pregnant or for men and women with immediate plans to conceive children. (Applicable to our Nuclear Facilities) Alternate work arrangements are such that they minimize chances of exposure to radiation.

HOURS OF WORK: There are several shifts at OPG – 8-hour shifts, 10-hour shifts,
and rotating 12-hour shifts. The 8-hour and 10-hour shifts are typically day shifts. In contrast, the 12-hour shifts are scheduled from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. or 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. E & C Technicians have to be willing to do any of these shifts and be flexible in their availability.

  • Everyone is required to work scheduled shifts, including weekends, and statutory
    holidays.
  • A typical shift includes paid time off for breaks and lunch periods. For example, a
    typical 8-hour shift includes paid time off for two paid 10-minute breaks and one unpaid 30-minute lunch break.
  • Schedules are set one year in advance and are balanced over the course of the year to average out to 40 hours per week. Typically a period of two or three 12-hour shifts would be followed by two or three days off.
  • When working the 12-hour shifts, there is a shift premium percentage above regular 8 hour wages and there is additional time off (beyond the 2-weeks entitled vacation days) every year.

Training & Career Opportunities

“Do I need to keep learning? And, where can I go from here?”

INTERNAL CONTINUOUS LEARNING REQUIREMENTS: E & C Technicians are required to complete on-going training (provided by OPG). Training is required for re-qualification/refresher purposes, as well as to acquaint personnel with plant or system changes (e.g., new equipment, new work processes). Training length can vary from one day to three days. Some of the training is computer-based.

EXTERNAL TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES: If E & C Technicians feel that they will benefit from training opportunities available outside OPG and they can demonstrate that the training is job-relevant, OPG will pay for that training.

CAREER OPPORTUNITIES: E & C Technicians can move to different positions at the same level in the organization (“lateral move”) or can move to higher positions at OPG (“vertical move”).

  • LATERAL MOVES: Opportunities are available if E & C Technicians want to work in a different work environment (e.g., at another plant), on a new crew, in a different role within the Trades group (e.g., assessors), or work elsewhere in the organization in a non-Trades position (e.g., in the Training department). Some opportunities might require re-training or might have minimum seniority requirements. If an E & C Technician expresses interest in making a lateral move, a manager/supervisor will typically try to accommodate his/her request. The only exception is when OPG is actively hiring new E & C Technicians due to
    staffing shortages – at such times, current incumbents are not “releasable” into alternate positions.
  • VERTICAL MOVES: There are advancement opportunities within OPG into the assistant supervisor role. Advancement into the assistant supervisor role (called the First Line Manager Assistant – FLMA), is based on seniority and meeting certain qualifications. Interested applicants would have to apply for this position. Though there are several FLMA positions, openings for the position tend to be limited. Also, because advancement is partially contingent on seniority, it might take an E & C Technician considerable time to get the required years of experience to apply for such a position. In the interim, temporary “step up” roles are available. “Step up” roles provide E & C Technicians with an opportunity to take on some of the co-ordination / oversight roles of an FLMA.

Pay and Benefits

“Is it a well-paid job?”

WAGES AND BENEFITS: These are based on the collective agreement. OPG’s benefits package is considered to be above industry standard. Pay is considered to be comparable to that found across the industry for similar skilled trades positions. It takes E & C Technicians approximately four to eight years to qualify for the maximum pay rate (i.e., the top step in the pay scale for the E & C Technician job). Pay progression occurs annually. The union negotiates economic increases.

BONUSES: “Goal sharing bonuses” are available contingent on OPG Corporate and
the plant meeting their profitability targets.


Supervision

“How much supervision will I receive?”

E & C Technicians have two immediate supervisors – the First Line Manager (FLM) and FLMA (First Line Manager Assistant). The planning and direct monitoring of an E & C Technician’s work is overseen by the FLMA. The FLM co-ordinates activities with the FLMA of all crew members and is responsible for any issues requiring disciplinary action.

E & C Technicians do not work under constant supervision. Instead, the FLMA regularly, but not constantly, monitors E & C Technicians’ progress to verify work completion and to provide assistance as needed.


Physical Working Environment

“What is the physical work environment like?”

In the normal course of their duties, E & C Technicians have to be comfortable dealing with the following working conditions:

  • E & C Technicians have to be comfortable with the fact that they will be working in
    potentially hazardous or radioactively contaminated areas. Working in such areas does lead to low-grade contamination. However, hazardous/contaminated areas are highly monitored, minimizing threat. E & C Technicians are required to wear protective safety equipment and clothing at all times, particularly if entering such areas. As well, OPG has very stringent criteria as to allowable levels of exposure to contaminated materials and areas. OPG’s standards are stricter than those set by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. As well, OPG is very strict about enforcing its safety policies.
  • Due to the nature of the job, E & C Technicians may be exposed to electrical hazards
    (e.g., exposed electrical wiring). However, safe work procedures, protective equipment and clothing are provided and required to protect the worker at all times.
  • Some of the protective equipment and clothing can be heavy or feel restrictive (e.g.,
    plastic suits, respirators). E & C Technicians have to be comfortable being restricted in this manner, sometimes for extended periods of time.
  • E & C Technicians might have to crawl into confined spaces, work at significant heights (e.g., on floors with gratings that have 25 feet drops under the gratings, working from elevated platforms and scaffolds), work in high heat locations (e.g., around steam-producing equipment), work in areas with limited fresh air circulation, and work in areas with high noise levels. Although these hazards are present in the workplace, controls are in place to always protect the worker.
  • E & C Technicians will be working indoors for the majority of their shift, under artificial light. They are on their feet for the majority of their day moving through large areas of the plant, and climbing ladders and stairs to different elevations.
  • OPG has implemented highly secure locker room facilities, separated for men and women. Note that most E & C Technicians might be required to change into or out of their Radiation Area Clothing frequently. Individuals will need to be/become comfortable disrobing in front of their same-sex colleagues because of nonpartitioned same-sex locker room facilities. As well, E & C Technicians have to be comfortable wearing Radiation Area Clothing and undergarments provided by OPG.

Appealing Aspects of the Job

“What do other E & C Technicians like about the job?”

The E & C Technician position has some interesting and desirable aspects. Following are quotes from E & C Technicians as they describe what they like about their jobs.

PAY

OPG offers good pay and a very good benefits package. Their employees consider the compensation to be well-above industry averages for mechanical work.

Mechanical Technician Quote:
“We are here to do a job and we are very well-paid for it.”

TRAINING

OPG is very supportive of continuous knowledge development.

Electrical & Control Technician Quote:
“You really can’t complain about the pay. It is comparable to pay received in the outside industry. In fact, the pay is good, especially when you consider the exceptional benefits package as well.”

TRAINING

The on-going training requirements are great if you are someone who wants to broaden your skills, talent and knowledge, but have been working for years and do not want to return to school just for the training. There is also specialized training conducted offsite.

Electrical & Control Technician Quote:
“You can pick up new skills on a regular basis. In fact, being open to new training is encouraged at OPG. You will always receive support for continuous knowledge acquisition.”

OPG’S SAFETY CULTURE

OPG has a very strong safety culture. OPG has set even higher safety standards than those required by federal authorities.

Electrical & Control Technician Quote:
“You have to accept that, working in a nuclear environment, you will potentially be exposed to hazards/contamination. However, despite this possibility, I feel that OPG is a very safe place to work. OPG has such strict safety policies – they require 100% adherence to safety policies and procedures. Also, OPG’s limits on allowable levels of exposure to contaminated materials are considerably lower than those established by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.” +

COMPANY’S CULTURE

OPG has a very strong safety culture. OPG has set even higher safety standards than those required by federal authorities.

Electrical & Control Technician Quote:
There are a lot of OPG social and community events. Also, working on a crew gives you a sense of team membership. You get an opportunity to build good professional and personal relationships with these people.”


Unappealing Aspects of the Job

“What do other E & C Technicians find difficult to deal with about the job?”
As with any job, there are aspects of the job that are less desirable, even negative in some cases, and challenging to manage. Following are quotes from E & C Technicians as they describe the more unappealing aspects of their job.

SHIFT WORK

Shift work can be physically and personally demanding.
Electrical & Control Technician Quote:
“You can never really adjust to shift work. You just develop a tolerance for it. It is not atypical to experience long-term adjustment problems related to sleeping, eating, mood fluctuations, and social patterns. Even on your days off, you are preparing for the next shift.”

LACK OF VARIETY

When you begin training as a new employee, it can be a bit frustrating. The adjustment period is longer than in other organizations because of the many training sessions required and the degree
of familiarization required with station documentation, policies, standards, and procedures. Essentially, you must undergo months of training before being allowed to operate equipment.
Electrical & Control Technician Quote:
“As a trainee, not being able to work on the actual equipment, especially if you have years of prior experience, can make you feel as though you do not have any qualifications, at first. Also, with all the training, it feels like you are doing your last year of college again.”


Critical Success Factors

“What does it take to be a good E & C Technician?”

This RJP summarizes the most important aspects of the E & C Technician job. Review the following list of factors important for success and satisfaction as an E & C Technician. Use the list as a self-assessment guide to think about how well your skills match those necessary to be successful at the E & C Technician job.

Will I…

  • Mind returning to months of training despite my previous training/experience
  • Mind doing routine, repetitive monitoring and maintenance tasks
  • Be patient in handling multiple and continuous delays to my work flow
  • Be safety conscious with a questioning attitude

Can I…

  • Work in a highly rule-oriented environment that requires me to strictly adhere to
    policies, standards, and procedures
  • Work well with a variety of people
  • Work on computers
  • Work in potentially uncomfortable environments (e.g., working in hot environments, at heights, in confined spaces, with noise)
  • Work in dirty, radiation-prone, or potentially contaminated areas or work with Radiation Protection equipment (plastic suits, respirators) and Personal Protection equipment (foot wear, hearing protection, gloves)

Am I…

  • Comfortable doing shift work, working on weekends, and on holidays
  • Prepared to deal with the impact shift-work will have on me physically and on my
    personal life

OPG Contact Information

“How can I get my questions answered?”

For further information please consult OPG’s website www.mypowercareer.com to get more information or to contact OPG.


Closing Remarks

In this document, we have attempted to provide you with BASIC information about the Radiation Protection Technician position, i.e., information that is broad in its breadth of coverage, accurate in its depiction of the job, specific to the Radiation Protection Technician job, important to being satisfied in this position, and is based on credible information. We hope the information has been useful in helping you decide whether you would like to submit an application to OPG for this position.