As Electrical Portfolio Manager, Kevin Furey leads the development and delivery of Eastwood Park’s electrical training.
He was instrumental in the creation of our purpose-built high voltage facility, where delegates take part in fault-finding exercises in a realistic but safe environment. Three years on from its opening, he explains the benefits that this hands-on HV training brings to healthcare, commercial and MOD organisations around the country.
First of all, how did you end up delivering electrical training?
With over 30 years’ experience of electrical engineering, I, like any other engineer working in the industry, attended regular refresher training to ensure my knowledge and skills were kept up to date. It was while on one of these courses that I was asked to help out with some of the less experienced members of the group, and things went from there.
Since becoming an electrical trainer, I have delivered courses for all levels, not just in the UK but around the world. I also took the central role in the development of Eastwood Park’s own specialist high voltage facility, where you will spend the majority of your time when you attend HV training with us.
What is included in the high voltage facility at Eastwood Park?
Facilities and activities available include a state-of-the-art HV open ring system with fault simulations, live HV phasing, high voltage pressure testing, cable fault location and spiking, practical protection testing and HV grading studies. Learners benefit from hands-on practical training alongside desktop exercises, with switchgear in the classroom to minimise time spent on presentations.
All this takes place within a 200 acre country estate, providing plentiful opportunities to unwind when not in the classroom, something you really won’t get with any other training provider! There’s easy access to nearby cities Bristol, Gloucester, Bath and Cheltenham should you want to venture further afield in the evenings.
In your opinion, what are the benefits of hands-on training in addition to classroom based/theory?
We know that not everybody learns best from classroom-based theory, so being given access to equipment to practice on (which mimics what’s found on a typical small scale estates site) significantly enhances the learning experience.
Working on live equipment for the first time can be nerve–wracking, especially when it comes to something as crucial as your high voltage supply. Having the safety of working on real equipment in a controlled environment away from the pressure of the workplace gives you a new found confidence to take back to your organisation.
When it comes to refresher training, we often see learners who think they remember how something works and it’s not until we start on the practical exercises that the gaps show. Through this, we’re then able to tailor training to exactly what the learner needs in order carry on doing the job safely and in line with relevant industry standards and guidance.
What are the biggest issues your delegates face and how do you help them overcome them?
Many of our learners come from a NHS background and the practical element of HV switching is not always a reality on their sites. Consequently some have limited or even no hands-on HV experience. Having the equipment in the classroom definitely assists in overcoming any fears, especially as despite HV being a serious subject, it is taught in a light-hearted manner, creating a sense of ease in the classroom.
Organisations often struggle to find HV training specific to them and the guidance relevant to their industry. As well delivering training for the healthcare environment, our electrical portfolio includes courses catering for the specific needs of HV in the commercial sector and the requirements of the MOD too. Learners can come to Eastwood Park safe in the knowledge that the course will be relevant at all stages, rather than the ‘one size fits all’ approach that a number of other training providers take.