A career in natural gas? We’ll help you learn!
Learn about how we’re training natural gas field employees in New England
Imagine that you’re starting your career and someone offers you the chance for hundreds of hours of classroom learning and hands-on mentorship to prepare you for a job that provides a stable income and professional growth. Now imagine it’s all free of charge.
Though it seems too good to be true, this opportunity is a reality for thousands of employees who go through our “Our Academy” training programs to enter jobs as field employees in our electric and gas operations.
I caught up with a few people who work on the gas side of the Millbury, Massachusetts training center last week to learn more about the programs we offer.
If you work in Gas Operations (GFO) or in Customer Meter Services (CMS) your first introduction to a career here begins by taking a progression course to prepare you for your job. This is a module-based program that starts with weeks of classroom training on the basic principles of natural gas and the industry, followed by numerous weeks of shadowing and instruction by experienced colleagues and supervisors in the field.
You’ll then return to Millbury and repeat this process with more advanced curriculum and field work over the course of the year. For CMS techs, this is typically a 4 module process and for GFO its 7 modules. Here are a few of our gas operations employees partaking in one of our course offerings:
Once trained, these technicians will be able to act as first responders, troubleshoot and change meters on their own. In gas operations it’s a similar path – after completing their training modules, employees are ready to work independently constructing and maintaining gas pipelines with a crew. Here are a couple of our veteran instructors –Larry DiNofio and John Yoakum. There are 10 full time instructors (all of whom have over 20 years of field experience) and some 10-11 part-time instructors who are retirees.
It’s not all just PowerPoints and written tests at Millbury – hands-on training using equipment in mock scenarios is an important part of the learning process. If you walk around the training center you’ll get a taste of the different types of training offered:
In one room you have plastic fusion equipment – used to learn techniques like butt fusion, electro fusion and using mechanical couplings to join plastic pipe. You’ll also learn how to install main and service laterals and tap service connections.
There are also examples of what happens to plastic pipe under different conditions. Check out this pipe that was struck by lightning. Yikes!
There are rooms where CMS techs receive training and exposure to different kinds of equipment and meters:
And a room where gas field ops employees can practice tapping and bypassing on both high and low pressure steel and plastic pipes.
There’s a room where instructors work with employees on safety principles. Three points of contact is a major focus for gas operations employees and the slippery surface simulator – like the one pictured here – is used to train CMS techs to find sure footing.
Even if you’re not in operations there’s something for you at Millbury – you can sign up for an Intro to Gas course as well as courses on Safety Operating Procedures (SOP) and on the basics of High Pressure/Low Pressure (HPLP) systems just to name a few. You can register for these courses on Learning Link.
Millbury is one of five training centers located across our territories where similar instruction is offered. With a focus on safe and reliable energy delivery, they are excellent examples of the investment that we make in our employees to ensure we’re all at the top of our craft.
As we roll out our new Elevate2018 goals for the year, we’ve included “People” as an important part of our ambitions. At Millbury, there’s a chance for continuous learning and development with curriculum that you won’t find anywhere else but National Grid.