Page 5: Creative problem-solving at graduate level
It is not only top level managers that make important commercial decisions. RWE npower employs graduate engineers straight from university. They contribute to the decision making processes from the start. Typically their salaries start at about £25,000. They receive training and development throughout their career at RWE npower. They are encouraged to think for themselves and to place a high importance on commercial criteria in making decisions.
For example, a decision made by a graduate engineer saved the company millions of pounds. One of the problems in running a power station is that deposits accumulate on the many kilometres of pipes in the giant power station boilers and they take a long time to be removed. The deposits need to be removed so that the thickness of the metal in the pipes can be checked. Over time the pipes wear down and will eventually need to be replaced.
Recently a RWE npower graduate engineer developed a specialised measuring probe. This made it possible to test the thickness of the pipes without the need for removing the deposits. The probe made it possible to check instantly on the thickness of the pipes. This gives managers much more up-to-date data about how safe the equipment is so that repairs can be planned in the most economical way.