Embracing the Unknown
By Jordon Hayles, Energy Systems Engineer Intern (Supply Side)
Many of the memories I have are from when I’ve been in school. There’s no surprise there – I’ve been in school for over four-fifths of my life. I’ve grown accustomed to having a rigid structure and I came to expect predictability. Courses came with comprehensive outlines highlighting what to expect and what I needed to know by exam time. Exams tended to follow the same format, and sometimes they even had similar or repeat questions. I wrote “Student” under the occupation field without thinking twice about it. When I graduated that predictability and familiarity I had been used to vanished. I was in uncharted territory. I was now fully in the world of work – I got employed at the CCREEE.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had many a summer job in the past ranging from working in a fast-food restaurant to working at a co-generation plant. This also isn’t my first full-time job because before I went to university, I spent a year working at a microfinance company. It was different this time though. School was always at the end of the tunnel but in this new scenario I was out of school planning to get years’ worth of experience. I was qualified and ready to take on the world, but I didn’t know what to expect.
Sure, there were a few obvious things I was anticipating. I knew that whatever happened I would be required to continue learning because an effective engineer is one who stays abreast with new technologies and developments. I also knew it was impossible to know everything through school alone and that some things can be learned only through on-the-job experience. Other than that, I didn’t know what to expect, so I chose not to expect anything. I saw myself like a new-born baby. I was ready for this new experience and I was ready to absorb everything that would happen in my new surroundings. I made myself malleable and fresh, not limiting myself by developing expectations before time. I entered this world of work wide-eyed and I’m glad I did.
There are so many opportunities to learn here at the CCREEE. The energy field is extensive and diverse and I’m grateful I’ve been able to get exposure to it all. While here I’ve been privileged to not only learn engineering but relevant soft skills as well. I’m working on my public speaking skills, I continue to learn about energy economics, financing and even policy. I’ve been in numerous technical trainings and my supervisors ensure I’m always engaged. I’ve been blessed to work on projects such as the Energy Access Programme which outlines a framework for rural electrification in the Caribbean and the Emergency Response Plan which outlines a framework for regional entities related to energy to coordinate their response to reduce downtime after a major event. Most importantly, I’m learning as I work with my supervisors and the team on the Integrated Resource and Resilience Plan which is a least regret plan for how a country can supply its need for electricity for the foreseeable future. Even though I don’t have any course outline there is a lot of learning to do. In some ways, I’m still a student and everything I’m learning is making me a better engineer, helping me position myself to assist the region.