How do you build a wind farm from home?

 

Gareth Young

Gareth Young manages working from home with his youngest daughter Georgie.



28 April 2020 – March 25, 2020, saw just about every aspect of civic life in New Zealand ‘lock down’ in the fight against COVID-19. The ripple effects have been huge.

For Mercury, it’s meant most of our workforce adjusting to working from home and the suspension of construction work at our sites, including our Turitea wind farm in the Manawatu.

So what does this mean for someone new to Mercury, and their wind energy projects?

“Starting a new job during New Zealand’s COVID-19 lockdown will certainly rank as one of the most unusually memorable moments of my career,” says new-to-Mercury Project Specialist Gareth Young.

Gareth was to be based out of Mercury’s Palmerston North office, within easy distance of Mercury’s Turitea wind farm site. While Gareth did get to visit the office pre-lockdown, to meet his future colleagues and get a feel for Mercury, he’s been in his bubble at home since his very first login as a Mercury employee.

While all those new to Mercury during lockdown are having their start dates honoured, not all new employees can actually start working because lockdown restrictions prevent the set-up and supply of IT equipment. Gareth got in just in the nick of time, with the full suite of Mercury’s IT tools available to him in his home office set-up.

“Mercury’s IT infrastructure has made my remote induction as seamless as possible. I can easily connect with my manager through Skype, and our daily catch ups allow me to get up to speed on the business, find my way around Mercury’s intranet and generally build my base of knowledge,” Gareth says.

“While Gareth has to be in a bit of holding pattern for now, it’s been great to be able to onboard him to the degree that we have,” says Gareth’s manager, Duncan Annandale. “A big part of his role is going to be relationship building and, while he can’t physically go out there and meet landowners on the Turitea and Puketoi projects, technology has been hugely useful in filling the gaps for now,” Duncan says.

And far from seeing his remote induction as a disadvantage, Gareth sees the positives in his situation.

“In normal circumstances you would hit the ground running on all fronts in a new job. In the instance of onboarding at a time like this, while I may be hamstrung in some ways, being confined to a home office gives me time to create my own building blocks of knowledge around my role and the wider business,” Gareth says.

So, while a 55 metre-long wind turbine blade was never going to tuck neatly under Gareth’s kitchen table, there’s plenty he has been able to focus on in learning about Mercury’s wind energy ambitions while waiting for the lockdown to lift.

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Mercury’s mission is energy freedom. Our purpose is to inspire New Zealanders to enjoy energy in more wonderful ways and our goal is to be New Zealand’s leading energy brand. We focus on our customers, our people, our partners and our country; maintain a long term view of sustainability; and promote wonderful choices. Mercury is energy made wonderful. www.mercury.co.nz