• Media release
  • 8 Dec 2021
  • 3 min read

Genesis generation trainee scoops national award

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Danielle Main, an operator maintainer at Genesis’ Tekapo Power Scheme, was named Generation Trainee of the Year at the Connexis Industry Excellence Awards on 6 December.

Danielle Main, Generation Trainee of the Year
Danielle Main, Generation Trainee of the Year

The awards are recognition of the hard work, dedication, and expertise it takes to succeed in the industry. Fifteen of the best and brightest energy and telecommunications trainees from across the country were selected as finalists.

Danielle, 29, began her training with a pre-trade electrical engineering course at Ara Institute in Christchurch and started her electrical apprenticeship at Te Apiti wind farm in Palmerston North. She joined Genesis in mid-2020, and completed her operator training in a third of the expected time. She’s due to wrap up her electrical apprenticeship within the next six months.

In addition, Danielle is also an active participant in the Girls with Hi-Vis initiative to encourage young women into the energy sector, and has delivered presentations at high schools.

The awards were judged by a panel of industry experts who consider nominees’ attitude to training, commitment to career progression, whether they are team players, and how they approach challenges.

Tekapo Site Manager Mark Cain has been impressed by Danielle’s progress and work ethic,  "she’s keen to learn and very mature. She shows drive, initiative and a proactive approach to achieving her training goals."

Danielle says she’s loving her career after being unsure what she wanted to do when she finished school in Christchurch, "I wasn’t sure I wanted to go to uni and end up with student debt. I thought a trade sounded interesting, and I could earn money while doing an apprenticeship."

With four brothers she’s not fazed by working in a male-dominated sector, though is pleased she has a woman colleague in her Tekapo team of seven – fellow operator maintainer Ela Jones. "It would be great to see more women come into the energy sector. I like the challenge and variety – there’s always something new to learn. Fault-finding is really satisfying – figuring out the problem and then returning that piece of plant back to service."

Danielle’s other day to day tasks include inspections of the Tekapo plant, canals and structures around the power scheme, repairing or replacing equipment, supervising contractors that visit the site, working with systems that control the scheme, and maintaining the canal and lake levels within approved limits. For a week each month she’s on call to trouble-shoot anything that might need her expertise, "basically helping keep the lights on for New Zealand."

She appreciates the positive, supportive environment in her team and feels motivated to keep learning. Next on her list are the Power Technician Qualification, and the NZ Diploma in Engineering Practice.

"Danielle’s a great role model for any young person wanting to get into the energy sector. We hope her award encourages others to consider this career path. If they’re women, that would be even better" Tekapo Site Manager Mark Cain.

Media contact


Estelle Sarney


External Communications Manager



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