Bouygues E&S EnerTrans Ltd. will manage and renew the servitude contracts of the national grid company Swissgrid throughout Switzerland for the next five years.
Dear Stefan, how long have you been working at Bouygues E&S EnerTrans?
This summer it will be 14 years. Then there's my 4-year apprenticeship, which I completed from 1997-2001 at what was then Atel. So all in all, I've been with the company for 18 years and have spent my entire career here so far.
What training have you completed?
After my apprenticeship as an electrical draughtsman, I also completed the vocational baccalaureate and then studied systems engineering with a specialisation in automation at the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland.
What motivated you to start training as an engineer?
During my time as an electrical draughtsman, I created schematics based on red corrections and realised that for the most part I lacked the technical understanding of what I had drawn. This was the trigger for me to start an engineering degree so that I could build up the understanding and ability to design and comprehend schematics myself. Of course, a strong interest in technical subjects is also a basic requirement for this.
In which different functions have you been active so far?
I started as a technical specialist in control technology, where the main activities were maintenance, servicing and troubleshooting of these systems. When new high-voltage systems were built or rebuilt, I was always the person responsible for this specialist area. As time went by, more and more project manager activities were added - in the beginning smaller projects or sub-projects. Over time, the projects became larger and more complex; in parallel, I gradually took on more management responsibility.
What does your day-to-day work as an engineer at Bouygues E&S EnerTrans look like?
On the one hand, I am involved in planning. This includes, for example, drawing up specifications and tender documents. In the execution phase, I ensure the quality of the companies' delivery results. On the other hand, it is also possible that EnerTrans itself acts as a supplier or general contractor. In my area of responsibility, secondary technology, this concerns, for example, protection or control systems or also own-use systems. These systems are then designed, parameterised, installed and commissioned by us, which I take care of as the project manager. As a team leader, I also have management responsibilities, including supervising and supporting the employees, planning resources, acquiring new orders and preparing quotations.
What are the challenges in your job?
Every project is unique, be it on a technical level or from an organisational point of view. Even if you get the feeling that you've seen it all before, you always learn something new. That's what keeps the work exciting, even after 18 years. Since our business is project-based, we have to try to achieve as constant a workload as possible, which is not always easy. Because of my management responsibility, I also have to make sure that employees are busy and assigned tasks that match their skills and are interesting for them.
You have spent your entire career so far at Bouygues E&S EnerTrans. What do you appreciate about your employer?
First and foremost, I love my job because it is very varied, whether as a manager or as a project manager. Over all these years, my employer has managed to promote and challenge me, which is not a given - I am very grateful to Bouygues E&S EnerTrans for that. As I am a family man, my private environment and my free time are also important to me. Bouygues E&S EnerTrans offers flexible working hours. This allows me to balance my career and my private life well. We also have a great team and good cohesion, which I also appreciate.
How has Bouygues E&S EnerTrans supported you in your training/education and development?
There are two pillars for me: On the one hand, courses and training, and on the other, on-the-job training. When I started at Bouygues E&S EnerTrans, I was assigned a "godfather" who introduced me to the control technology department and explained everything technical. Then my supervisor trained me to become a project manager. In terms of training, the employees have a number of days each year that are available for further training, so that you can keep up to date with the latest technical developments. There is also a training week for all employees, during which - depending on the area of responsibility - various courses can be taken, whether in project management, sales or, for example, in the area of occupational safety. Our parent company Bouygues Energies & Services in Switzerland also offers further training from which we employees benefit. All in all, there is a very diverse range of opportunities for further training.
To what extent is Bouygues E&S EnerTrans a good employer for engineers?
We have a very broad range of tasks and activities, which makes everyday work very exciting for engineers and allows them to work in areas that particularly interest them. You can also switch to other fields if you want to. In my area, secondary technology, for example, you can be involved in the parameterisation and commissioning of protection and control systems. Since we don't work with our own equipment, we are independent when it comes to choosing the producers from whom we want to purchase new equipment. This gives us greater flexibility to provide our customers with the best possible solution for their specific needs. For us, it means that we can or must always learn new software tools. For this purpose, we have set up a laboratory where we can familiarise ourselves with the new tools and test them before they are used outside in the plants. As already mentioned, you can also handle projects as a project manager or sub-project manager and thus gradually grow into management activities.
What advice do you have for (young) people who are interested in a career as an engineer?
A basic prerequisite is, of course, an interest in technical topics. Engineering is a very extensive field with many exciting disciplines. In addition to the field of electrical engineering, in which we are active, one can also develop in the direction of civil engineer or mechanical engineer, for example. Within each of these sub-disciplines, there are different areas in which you can specialise, e.g. research, development or, as is the case with the majority of us, in realisation. There are therefore a considerable number of opportunities for engineers to do work that is tailored to their own interests and fulfils them. Moreover, it is a profession that will continue to be in great demand in the future, especially in the field of electrical engineering. With regard to the Energy Strategy 2050, major challenges have to be mastered, which will lead to an increased demand for electrical engineers.