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Army Air Force

Electrical Generating Systems Technician

Non-Commissioned Member | Full Time, Part Time


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Overview

Electrical Generating Systems Technicians provides electrical power generation support to operational units.

The Electrical Generating Systems Technician is one of the seven Construction Engineering occupations involved in the supply of all construction, civil, electrical and mechanical engineering services in support of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) operations worldwide. The primary responsibilities of the Electrical Generating Systems Technicians are to:

  • Install, operate, maintain and repair mobile electrical generators and associated control equipment
  • Install, operate, maintain and repair power plant electrical generators and associated control equipment
  • Install, operate and maintain engine prime movers associated with equipment driven by Construction Engineers
  • Install, operate, maintain and repair Static Uninterruptable Power Systems and Rotary Uninterruptable Power Systems
  • Overhaul electrical generation systems and equipment
  • Produce designs and specifications
  • Produce mechanical and electrical drawings
  • Perform brazing/welding and machining work

Work environment

Electrical Generating Systems Technicians are members of the Air Force but may be assigned to work in the Army or Navy environment as members of the Construction Engineering team.

Career Overview

Transcript

TITLE:

Electrical Generating Systems Technician

CORPORAL JESSICA PROVENCHER: I’m Corporal Jessica Provencher from Rouyn-Noranda, Abitibi-Témiscamingue – an Electrical Generating Systems Technician based at 8 Wing Trenton, Ontario.

In the Canadian Armed Forces, the strength of the military often depends on electrical power. 

Electrical Generating Systems Technicians – or EGS Techs for short – make sure that the current never stops flowing. It’s crucial to mission success – and to the safety of Canadian Armed Forces members.

CORPORAL JESSICA PROVENCHER: You’re the person to go to when they need power. That’s what keeps the base going, that’s what keeps the operation going. We can be anywhere when they need us – in the field, in exercise, on deployment – when you can’t tap to the grid.

In the Regular Force or the Reserves, EGS Techs are the hands-on experts who know everything about the machinery that converts mechanical power into electrical voltage. 

CORPORAL JESSICA PROVENCHER: I ended up being an Electrical Generating Systems Technician because I had an electrical background before I joined the military, and when I got told that this was part-electrical, part-mechanical, I was very interested.

EGS Techs are responsible for the installation, operation, and maintenance of anything from generator sets, to uninterruptible power supplies, frequency converters, and motor generators.  

On a day-to-day basis, they spend their time doing preventative maintenance on the generators to ensure that they’re fully operational. Because if the lights go out, the power needs to come back on.

CORPORAL JESSICA PROVENCHER: Sometimes you encounter problems, you get called up to fix a generator – it could be a mechanical problem, or it can also be an electrical problem. So it’s a very wide range of problems you have to troubleshoot.

CORPORAL JESSICA PROVENCHER: What I like most about this job is definitely after you fix a generator. Because usually, when you get called up, nobody has power. So you have to fix this in a time-sensitive manner, you’ve got to put all your skills forward, work as a team and get it done – and it’s very rewarding. You finish the job and everybody else is happy.

On completion of their military and occupational training, Electrical Generating Systems Technicians get posted to an Army, Navy or Air Force base in Canada. 

CORPORAL JESSICA PROVENCHER: I got posted to Winnipeg at first, and over there you’re working with a journeyman – there’s always someone with you. You start slowly, doing oil changes, checks on a generator, learning how to do the checks on a generator, and eventually, a trouble comes up and you’re working with your journeyman to fix it and that’s how you keep going and learning.

EGS Techs are an important part of the Construction Engineering division of the Canadian Armed Forces, working alongside Electrical Distribution Techs, Drafting and Survey Techs, Construction Techs, Plumbing and Heating Techs, Mechanical and Refrigeration Techs as well as Water, Fuels and Environment Techs to support Canadian Armed Forces operations here at home and overseas.

CORPORAL JESSICA PROVENCHER: You’re the first person on the ground, you have to plan where you’re going to put the generators, you have to come up with a solution for powering the whole exercise camp, you have to work with other trades as well. It’s a really big challenge, you work as a team. You know, you need to figure out how you’re going to build that camp.

CORPORAL JESSICA PROVENCHER: The highlight of my career would be when I was deployed and the generator went down. It’s very stressful ’cause you never know what went wrong. You just get the call and you have to run up to that generator and fix it while everybody’s looking at you because they can’t continue their job until you’re done yours. Once you complete that, you feel proud.

Related Civilian Occupations

  • Power Plant Operator
  • Industrial Mechanic
  • Industrial Electrical Technician
  • Certified Engineering Technician (Mechanical/Electrical)

Training

The first stage of training is the Basic Military Qualification course, or Basic Training, held at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. This training provides the basic core skills and knowledge common to all trades. A goal of this course is to ensure that all recruits maintain the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) physical fitness standard; as a result, the training is physically demanding.

Learn more about Basic Training here.

Electrical Generating Systems Technicians attend the Canadian Forces School of Military Engineering in Gagetown, New Brunswick. Training takes approximately 22 weeks and includes:

  • Environmental skills such as defensive tactics and firearms
  • Care and use of common and special purpose tools and test equipment
  • Application of occupational codes and regulations
  • Interpretation of drawing and schematics
  • Physics, mechanical, electrical and electronic principles
  • Uninterruptable power systems
  • Mobile and fixed electrical generators
  • Electrical generation control and monitoring systems
  • Prime movers (engines)
  • Engine controllers
  • Brazing and welding techniques

Electrical Generating Systems Technicians may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training, including:

  • Operation, maintenance and repair of Uninterruptable power systems
  • Electrical switchgear and Programmable logic controllers
  • Relocatable temporary camp generator course

Entry plans

The minimum required education to apply for this position is the completion of the provincial requirements for Grade 10 or Secondaire IV in Quebec including Grade 10 applied math or math 416 / CST IV in Quebec. Foreign education may be accepted.

Part time options

This position is available for part-time employment with the Primary Reserve at certain locations across Canada. Reserve Force members usually serve part time with a military unit in their community, and may serve while going to school or working at a civilian job. They are paid during their training. They are not posted or required to do a military move. However, they can volunteer to move to another base. They may also volunteer for deployment on a military mission within or outside Canada.

Electrical Generating Systems Technicians may serve with the Canadian Army or the Royal Canadian Air Force. They are employed to provide electrical power generation support for CAF training and operations. Those employed on a part-time or casual full-time basis usually serve at a military base, wing or unit located within Canada.

Reserve Force members are trained to the same level as their Regular Force counterparts. They usually begin training with their home unit to ensure that they meet the required basic professional military standards. Following basic military training, occupational training for Electrical Generating Systems Technicians takes approximately 22 weeks and is conducted at the Canadian Forces School of Military Engineering in Gagetown, New Brunswick.

Reserve Force members usually serve part-time with their home unit for scheduled evenings and weekends (Air Reserve Electrical Generating Systems Technicians usually serve up to 12 days per month in a regular work day), although they may also serve in full-time positions at some units for fixed terms, depending on the type of work that they do. They are paid 92.8 percent of Regular Force rates of pay, receive a reasonable benefits package and may qualify to contribute to a pension plan.