Trainee Blog

    Read about the experiences of our current trainees

    Let us introduce ourselves! We are Richard and Linnea, the two trainees that started our journey at NKT in Karlskrona in September 2021. Here at NKT in Karlskrona we produce, test and deliver high voltage cable systems enabling the transition towards renewables and green energy. NKTs global presence and large organization enables both professional and personal development. It's really exiting for a newly graduated student to be a part the large project shaping our future society.
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    Last rotation: Attica-Crete project

    At the moment we are in the middle of our last rotation as trainees, joining the Attica-Crete project in Greece. The project connects the island of Crete to the mainland using 2 HVDC MI cables. It also uses an interesting metallic return cable to be used if one of the poles should fail or needs to be taken out of service. This adds an extra layer of complexity to the installation process.
    Our days are filled with different installation activities. So far we have seen HDD (horizontal directional drilling), which enables installation of cable in difficult sections where we are not able to use an excavator. We have seen joint bays under construction and when a cable is being pulled between the joint bays as well as various steps of the jointing operations. An interesting aspect of the installation of this cable is that the cable route is mainly on roads, which means that there are other utilities close to our cable path but also a lot of traffic in the surroundings.
    On site there are always interesting topics discussed with both subcontractors and our client. It's truly a great opportunity to get out and see it firsthand. We have received a warm welcome by the team on site in Elefsina where the project manager, planner, document controller, contract manager and site managers all work together with the jointers to keep the project moving in the Greek heat!
    As this is our last rotation, it is time for the new trainees to introduce themselves and take over this blog! Two weeks ago three new trainees that started their journey at NKT HV solutions in Karlskrona. They are currently doing their first rotation in the production department, trying to wrap their heads around the complex manufacturing processes. You will meet the new trainees here on the blog next week! 
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    Summer back in Karlskrona in the Engineering department

    We have now said good bye to England, the Dogger Bank project and all involved personnel. The four weeks we had in England gave more insight in the delicate matter of installing and jointing cables as well as in the interaction between the customer, the installation crew and the project team back in Karlskrona.
    As we are now back from our vacations and have a few weeks until our next abroad rotation starts we are now having a stopover at the Engineering department, our home department as soon as the trainee program is over. We have already met many of our future colleagues in different project team constellations during our time as trainees and it will be nice to get to know them even better. Now we also get to dive deeper in the tools and instructions that they (and soon we) use during the everyday work. It is exciting to get a glimpse of the life after the trainee program.
    Alongside with the introduction at engineering we are preparing for our next (and last) phase as trainees; an abroad rotation in Greece. We will get the chance to see the NKT-scope of the interconnector Attica-Crete which will connect Crete with the mainland.
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    1st rotation abroad: England

    Hi again!
    We have just started our first of two rotations abroad. We are currently in England supporting the Doggerbank A and B projects. The Doggerbank projects will together with Doggerbank C result in the world's largest wind farm to date! Work is being done on all fronts and the scale of the operation is amazing.
    There is a high tempo on site with a lot of operations going on. This means that there are a lot of different parties on site and cooperation and communication is crucial. Besides from NKT there are civil contractors, fibre optics jointers, cable pulling supervisors and client representatives. All working together to make the job go as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
    When on site the days go fast as there is always something to do or take a look at. It’s amazing how much you learn in a short amount of time and how your understanding of the installation phase improves when you are actually there. You come in contact with terminology and ways of working that you don´t hear or see otherwise.
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    One of the main things we are involved in here at the site is the jointing of the underground cables. Cable lengths of about 1 km are delivered to the site on cable drums and then pulled into their final position in ducts that are buried a few meters beneath the surface. The cable lengths are then jointed by a jointing team, out of which some have a life time of jointing experience behind them. We now have the opportunity to spend some time with the jointers, to see them in action and to ask all our questions. Another part of life at site is the management and planning of the jointing and the related logistics and documentation. One of our tasks related to that is to make sure that the quality documentation of the jointing is available for the project manager to forward to the client. All of this gives us a better understanding of the procedures behind a joint of good quality.
    As the rotation abroad indicates that we are entering the final part of the trainee program you start to reflect on what we have learnt. The installation scope in a project involves all different steps of our journey through NKT. The understanding we’ve got from testing, producing, tendering and executing really helps getting your head around what is happening on site!

    5th Rotation: We are now 8 months into our journey as trainees at NKT.

    Richard: I am currently following our tendering process with the Commercial and Tendering department. The high voltage power cable market is very hot and it’s a very interesting time to get insight into their work!
    In order to produce the most attractive offer to our clients it is important that the commercial and tender department is kept up to date on the latest and greatest in NKTs development. It can be topics like cable monitoring systems that monitor the cable after installation and through it’s lifetime. Investments, improving our production or our installation method. How variations in material prices impact us and how the market develops around the globe.
    All of these subject and many more have to be considered when tendering for a project and having or not having the latest information can win or lose a project.
    This week we also got the opportunity to visit our material lab. The material lab is where cable materials and properties are studied on a very accurate level. With their equipment they can detect and analyze the smallest of damages or deviations. Our cables are extremely sensitive and the material lab continuously monitor the quality. With their expertise they are of course also crucial in development projects.
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    Linnea: The highlight of the last weeks is the days I had at the installation site for the Viking project. I got to meet a lot of NKT personnel on the site, as well as the customers and other involved companies that we have an interface towards during the cable installation. It was interesting to see the cooperation between all parties involved with the common goal of getting the cable system successfully installed.
    Our scope in this project is to deliver a cable for the route between the landfall at the beach and the converter station. To achieve that, the cable is delivered in shorter lengths rolled up on cable drums and then installed in sections which are then jointed together at the site. During my days at the installation site we went back and forth along the cable route to see the different activities that were performed in parallel. At the converter station the installation of the terminations of the cable system was ongoing. At the beach the cable was pulled between the first underground cable joint bay to the transition joint bay, which is where the underground cable is connected to the submarine cable. I also got to see some jointing in action and when the jointing equipment was moved between a completed joint to the next joint in the jointing schedule.
    Another interesting event was the project reviews, where the project managers presents their projects and highlights the last months key factors in their project and the main risks going forward. Beside this I've also participated in the weekly meetings and activities in the projects where I am involved to keep up with the progress and what is happening in the production, testing and installation of the cables.

    4th Rotation: We have recently rotated again, so here comes a report from the last weeks of our previous trainee block and the first impressions of the new one.

    Linnea:
    The project that I was involved in at the Commercial and Tender department has had its first tender submission. The submission includes a proposal of a cable design, the installation processes and the planning for the execution of the project, together with all other documentation that the client asked for at this stage. The tender team will now have a clarification meeting with the customer to discuss the submitted documents and what they expect for the next submission to prevent misunderstandings in the tender, but my time with the tender team is up and I have now joined the next department in my rotations, where the projects are executed once they are won.
    So far I have had two weeks together with the procurement team where I got a glimpse of how it works what's important to consider when choosing a possible subcontractor for a specific installation work in a project. I have now recently started my period with the project managers where I get an insight in their work with three different projects; Dogger Bank, Shetland and Viking Link. I have already joined internal project meetings, where the progress of each aspect of the projects are discussed, as well as project meetings with the customer, where the customer gets updated information about the project.
    This week's highlight is that I attended a FAT - Factory Acceptance Test, which is a test that is made on finalized delivery lengths to ensure that they are working. This test included a TDR(Time Domain Reflectometry)-measurement, where a signal is applied to the cable and the reflections are measured to see how the impedance varies along the cable length. This gives a fingerprint of the wave propagation characteristics of the cable.  A HVDC-test was another part of the FAT, where voltage is applied to the cable for about an hour to make sure that there is no breakdown of the insulation.
    We have also started a leadership training in parallel with the rotations. The training is divided into blocks with the topics leading self, leading individuals and leading groups. The sessions really gives you the opportunity to reflect and discuss about effective leadership and how to tackle typical leadership challenges. I think these reflections, discussions and insights about how to manage myself and others will be very useful in the future.
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    Richard:
    Just before rotating I got to visit the construction site with the Project Manager and the Project Installation Manager for the Viking project.
    I had the chance to view cable pulling and jointing of an MI 525kV cable. I met a lot of site workers who answered all of my questions and I had a great time. I also met the client for an interface meeting to discuss the upcoming work of installing the terminations at the converter station. This was very interesting and showed how complex these project are with a lot of different stakeholders involved.
    Since two weeks I have been with the Commercial and Tender department. After following the execution of three projects it’s very interesting to take a step back through the project phases and get some insight in how we actually acquire these projects. What contractual term can we agree on and how do we make ourselves competitive? Handling both commercial and technical issues in the tender is challenging but is very though-provoking.

    3rd Rotation: Time is flying by and we are already at the third of four planned rotations in the program

    Our trainees go through a four-stage rotation plan and get to know all the important work areas according to their area of work. This ensures a wide range of insights. So far, both of them have already gone through two rotation phases and are now in their the third rotation.
    The current rotation phase and experiences of our trainees will always appear at the beginning of the blog.
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    Linnea: I am in the middle of my period at the Commercial and Tender department, where I get to participate in the early stages of the tender phase of a project. I get a quick course in what it is like to manage the tender phase of a project both by attending different meetings within the team as well as through discussions with my mentor. The meetings I attend are deal with different aspects of the project, such as how to proceed with the work, with the cable design, installation procedure or how to tackle a specific HSE-topic. The discussions with my mentor cover topics such as how to effectively carry out such a project, how to promote communication and cooperation among team members and what to consider when drafting a contract with the customer.  
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    Richard: At the moment I’m joining the project managers in three different projects. They are all at different stages.  
    The Shetland project is currently being produced at our factory in Karlskrona and will enable renewable energy to be exported from the rugged Shetland islands to the UK mainland. At the factory we are manufacturing the HVDC cable. I have joined the project managers at the Factory Acceptance Test where we prove that our cable delivers the quality we promise.
    The second project is the major Dogger Bank project, which will connect three 1.2GW wind farms to the UK mainland to supply 6 million UK homes with renewable wind energy. This cable is also being manufactured in our factory as we speak. I am participating in hazard and operability studies as well as discussing risks and opportunities in the project. 
    I also attend in the customer meeting with the Viking Link project. Viking Link is a 1.4GW HVDC link between the British and Danish transmission networks. The link will be approximately 760km long. I also have planned a very interesting trip to the construction site, where we will look at the jointing works, terminations and the HDD, where the cable enters the sea. 
    Overall my days and meetings are very varied. Some meetings are very technical and deal with tensile forces or temperature limits. Others are more commercial, dealing with contract issues or payments. It is a fantastic environment and the more you learn about these projects, the more curious and interested you become.

    Second rotation

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    Richard: I've joined our Project Execution department and currently getting insight into project procurement. So far they have introduced me to how we work with our contracts both towards the client and our sub contractors. I had the privilege to join a workshop with one of our contract teams at the Malmö office for two days, focusing on preparing the contract for negotiations. It was two intense days but being in the middle of a workshop like this is one of the best ways to learn and get some real work experience of how we work  with our contractors. This department contains a broad knowledge of our business, meaning that these employees are  an excellent source of information and are perfect for an intern to learn from.
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    Linnea: My 12-week period at Commercial and Tender has just started. I have now gotten a brief introduction of the tender phase for new projects and what the role as a project manager in the tender phase looks like. The tender phase goes on from the moment that a customer announces a project until a cable manufacturer is awarded the project. The scope of the project has to be properly understood. What is it that the customer expects? What would the cable design look like and can we produce that kind of cable in our factory? What challenges do we see with the installation? Do we even want the project or do we see to many risks?  
    I have joined a tender-team in the beginning of a tender project which I now get to follow until the first submission. With the help of experienced colleagues I have gotten a few areas to explore on my own. It is interesting to see the challenges of the development and production of a new cable system from yet another perspective.  

    First rotation

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    I am Linnea, a former master’s student within electric power engineering at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg. It was my interest in high voltage technology and sustainability together with the openminded culture that encourages continuous development that made me choose NKT, and I haven’t been disappointed so far.
    My name is Richard, I’ve done my studies at Lund University where I have a master’s degree in electrical engineering with a specialization towards energy and electric power engineering. My fascination of large projects and the transformation towards a sustainable future perfectly aligned with NKTs visions. Add to that the close proximity to the sea, and a sea lover like me was completely sold on NKT in Karlskrona.
    Our days as a trainees varies a lot as we are rotating through different departments and functions. So far we have been through the production and the testing departments.  We've already met loads of friendly colleagues and learnt a lot about NKT.
    To get a firm understanding of how we produce cables, a day in the factory might start by sitting down with a production manager to talk about the flow through the factory. Together we join a meeting where investment discussions are being held for a upcoming improvement of a machine. Then we’ll go for a tour around the factory and stop to talk about intricate technical details or strategic planning. Lastly we might change into work wear and get some hands on action with the machine operators. The days in the production department involves communication and collaboration between different roles and perspectives in order to prepare for and produce a specific cable according to customer requirements. 
    At the testing facility at NKT in Karlskrona both mechanical and electrical tests are performed. The purpose of the mechanical tests are to see the cables capability to withstand external forces as water pressure and bending or test the tensile strength. The electrical tests are used to see what happens to the cable during extensive loading or a lightning strike. During our time at the testing department we got the opportunity to participate in many tests and to understand how and why we are performing them. It is inspiring to be in a world leading testing facility.
    Various trainings are included in parallel with the rotations in the trainee program. So far we have participated in an effective communications training, which we both found rewarding and necessary for our future careers.
    We have been given the opportunity to see the organization from different perspectives and all the collaboration that is needed to deliver a cable. The first months have been filled with new experiences and new friends! We are both looking forward to the coming months as trainees and our future here at NKT.

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