HVTC 40th Anniversary - Kristjan Blacka

Kristjan Blacka completed a Certificate III in Engineering – Mechanical apprenticeship with HVTC in 2018. Kris was hosted to Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) where he now works as a Computerised Maintenance Management Systems Support Officer.

What do you do in this role?

In this role, Kris is part of a team responsible with the upkeep and governance of Plant Maintenance Master Data, this can be something as simple as updating equipment information in ANSTO’s Computerised Maintenance Management System to building maintenance plans that come out on regular frequencies for key maintenance requirements defined by maintenance planners. Kris also has a strong knowledge of the Active Maintenance teams business process and has been responsible for aiding the team in producing an end to end business process document. Although this role isn’t currently out in the hands on or out in the field Kris is required to draw on the knowledge he gained during his time as a technician in his apprenticeship.

What’s the best thing about working for an organisation like ANSTO?

ANSTO is an amazing environment to work in for so many reasons! I work as part of an amazing team and my line manager is super supportive, I feel I am given opportunities to learn and grow that I may not have experienced working in other organisations. ANSTO puts a high value on their employee’s work/life balance and have done a great deal in accommodating a work from home initiative to keep me fresh and prevent fatigue; I live in Bomaderry which is about an hour and a half drive from site so as part of this initiative I have been given the opportunity to work from home 2 days a week. Working in the data management side of things isn’t as glamorous as working on the tools in all of the exciting tasks I was involved in but it is still something equally as important as our actions enable the great mechanical and scientific developments that occur in a safe well documented manner.

Are you working on any exciting projects/innovations?

Currently I am working as part of a team that is looking to reduce ANSTO’s digital footprint in out Computerised Maintenance Management System to help future proof our maintenance footprint and to resolve some of the current pain points staff are experiencing with the Enterprise Asset Management side of the system. This involves a lot of testing of changes in a quality version of the system before they are transferred into production for everyday use.

Why did you initially choose to do an apprenticeship?

I wanted a change in career, something outside my comfort zone and what I was expected to do. Where I could do something, I was interested in and get my hands dirty.

What are some of the highlights of your apprenticeship?

Working in the various rotations in mechanical fields at a functional nuclear medical facility I got to experience many exciting jobs. I got a great deal of support from HVTC during my time as an apprentice and have maintained connections with some of my former coordinators. One of my proudest moments was making it to the finals of the NSW Training Awards (I didn’t win) recognising my effort and ability in what I was doing.

Have you completed any further training since your time with HVTC?

I have completed a whole lot of training since my apprenticeship with HVTC, including training in SAP EAM software, International Standards ISO9001 and Technical Writing.

What would you consider to be a benefit of the apprenticeship pathway?

I believe the biggest benefits of the apprenticeship pathway is that you are constantly learning new skills, in a supportive environment and with a delivery method that suit many varied types of learners. Apprenticeships provide the training and skills to open doorways into the future! I know I learnt a lot about myself and my place in the world as well as gaining practical skills and experiences inside and outside of the classroom. I don’t believe I would be who I am or in the role I am now without the valuable skills, lessons, connections and support got to experience during my Apprenticeship.

Where do you see yourself in the future? What are your long-term career goals?

I would love to move towards being a subject matter expert in plant maintenance business process and take on some maintenance planning functionality. I looked up to a lot of the planners during my time as an apprentice as not only did they know the hands on elements of the job but also all the ins and outs that go into keeping various maintenance systems in good safe working order.

Kristjan Blacka