Case study: Frontline repairs become valuable resource

Ara electrical tutor Andrew Massie was undertaking a professional development placement with Connetics when the February 2011 earthquake struck.

Andrew witnessed firsthand the "mind blowing" damage to Christchurch's high-voltage underground cables and then helped with frontline repairs to re-establish the city's power network.

Andrew's blog became a repository for some 20 gigabytes of information and images and it continues to attract both local and international attention.

His experiences have now become an important part of his teaching toolkit as well as a valuable resource for leading international researchers such as 'smart power network' expert professor G. Kumar Venayagamoorthy, Lecturer of Electrical Engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology, who visited Ara to meet Andrew this year.

As well as contributing to industry knowledge, Andrew is preparing the next generation of electricians to help repair damage to the power network over the coming years as the rising water table and power load increases cause more high voltage cables to fault. Temporary 66,000-voltage cables with a three year lifespan will also need to be replaced.

Receiving detailed knowledge of earthquake damage and repairs, combined with practical training on Ara's High Voltage Tradefit site, should make Ara's electrical students valuable and sought after employees in Christchurch.