We’re working responsibly and following the best advice from the government and medical authorities on COVID-19. Many of our people have roles that allow them to work from home, and those people are working remotely. But many of our people need to be on site to do their jobs and can’t work from home. Amanda Richardson is one of those people turning up at site to keep the lights on for millions of Australians.

Amanda Richardson has carved a unique career path – all the way from a Customer Service Representative in AGL’s call centre in Adelaide, to becoming the first female Operations Shift Leader at AGL’s Torrens Island Power Station (Torrens). Shift leaders are located in a power station’s control room – the nerve centre of the entire generation site.

Amanda tells her unique story

‘My career at AGL began in the Eastwood Contact Centre in 2007,’ she said.

‘I started as a Customer Service Representative, taking phone calls, and after four years in that role, I progressed to become a Team Leader.

‘As part of my career development, I had an opportunity to spend one day each month at Torrens to learn more about other areas of the business. The way the company generated our energy always interested me, and I was excited to have the opportunity to expand my knowledge on how it all worked.’

Amanda then backfilled another role in People & Culture until 2017, when the role was made redundant. However, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

‘What followed was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up: a secondment as an Operations Shift Leader in the control room at Torrens Island,’ she said.

‘This was the first time a non-operational person had joined the Operations group, so it was a pretty big culture change for everyone involved.

‘The significance of the change didn’t come without its challenges. I was without any technical knowledge or licences and I was to be placed in a position where I would be responsible for a generation plant.

‘Given this significant shift, I embarked on a journey of learning the technical side to the role, and after almost three years of full-time training and study, I successfully passed my Advanced Boiler and Turbine Operations High Risk Work Licences.

‘It was an interesting and challenging few years during my study. I was new to the world of shift work, I was adapting to a whole new work environment and I also became a mum for the first time when I had my daughter, Lily in 2018.

‘Without the support of my team and trainers there is no way I could have managed all of this successfully. The change was as big for them as it was for me, and I cannot speak any higher of how supportive they have been.

‘I’ve learned steam principles, electrical theory and boiler and turbine operation, starting with zero experience or knowledge. There were moments where I provided lots of blank stares and other moments where I asked the same questions time and time again.

‘Some days were tougher than others, and there were times where I wondered what on earth I was doing! But I was lucky to have people that believed in me, and through it all my trainers and team patiently supported me every step of the way.

‘It’s taken a few years just to learn the basics to get me to this point - my next few years will be all about getting the hands-on experience and learning more about our power stations, Torrens and Barker Inlet, as well as the broader energy market.

‘Now that I’ve stepped into the Shift Leader role, I hope to be able to return the support my team has shown me over the last few years. I’ve always been passionate about creating a safe, positive work environment and an engaged team.

‘As a leader, I believe that we should always be looking for ways to improve in these areas no matter how good they already are, so I’m hoping I can bring a different perspective to how we could do things in Operations to help drive some positive changes.

‘It certainly has been a journey full of ups and downs, and I’ve invested a huge amount of energy and commitment into getting to this point, but the credit really has to be shared with my team as I wouldn’t be here without them. I have so much respect for them and am proud to be able to work alongside them as part of their team.’