For CLP engineer, it's like father, like daughter
Given her father is a lecturer in mechanical engineering, it’s no surprise that Justina Yim Tak-kuen dreamed of being an engineer ever since she was little. After graduating from university three years ago, she joined CLP Power as a graduate trainee. Now an “engineer two”, she tells Wong Yat-hei about her maintenance position in the combined cycle turbine team at the Black Point Power Station in Tuen Mun, a natural gas-fired power station.
What is your academic background?
I graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
How do you start your day?
I start with a morning meeting where I am briefed on the planned jobs of the day, points to note and important safety precautions. I also discuss major maintenance strategies with my supervisors and teammates. I then patrol the site to see if any assistance is needed and occasionally make on-site engineering decisions.
What does your job entail?
The Black Point Power Station employs combined cycle gas turbine technology and uses natural gas as the primary fuel to drive the turbines and produce electricity. Energy in the gas turbine exhaust is re-captured through an additional steam cycle, so that 50 per cent more electricity can be produced without additional fuel.
I patrol the power-station site, paying close attention to safety and technical details, and making sure maintenance work is on schedule. Regular checking and preventive maintenance are crucial to ensure a stable electricity supply to our customers.
I am also one of the mentors in the CLP’s Junior Green Engineer Programme. I help to educate children on using energy wisely and encourage them to pursue knowledge in power expertise.
What are the major challenges you’ve encountered so far?
The power-generating units are huge yet precise machines. Just the turbines themselves consist of so many components. Knowing how components link together and taking good care of them can be a big challenge.
People management is also a challenge as a lot of different team members are involved with the station’s operations. An engineer here needs to be equipped with good communication skills as well as maintenance skills.
Another challenge is the physical requirement. Being the only female engineer in my branch, this might be a bit tough for me, but I always keep myself in good shape to cope with tasks.
What are your plans for the future?
My short-term plan is to receive chartership as a corporate member of The Hong Kong Institution of Engineers. My long-term goal is to achieve a management position and get involved in strategic planning.
What advice can you give those interested in the industry?
Those who want to enter should be detail-minded and ready to deal with engineering challenges. The power industry also requires long-term planning, so we need to keep ourselves abreast of the latest technology and market developments.