Taipower is seeking to fill 857 positions this year, and it expects to receive 20,000 to 30,000 applications.
Competitors are competing in groups of two. One person stands on a transmission tower and aims to complete repairs as quickly as possible, while the other stands on the ground and provides any necessary equipment. Taipower held its annual skills competition on Jan. 19. This year, 1,150 employees participated, the highest number in the past decade. Taipower has seen a wave of retirements in recent years, and there were teams of 19-year-olds competing against teams of 65-year-olds.
Mr. Lin, Taipower Employee: “Outside, you have to go up the mountain and climb up really high on the transmission tower. The atmosphere here is more relaxed and it's not as stressful or tiring.”
Mr. Chou, Taipower Employee: “All my classmates appear to be earning more than me. That's because I just joined, not too long ago.”
Mr. Chou is 21. He passed Taipower's entrance exam after graduating from high school at the age of 19. He said he's earning less than his classmates, but he has job stability and the opportunity for salary growth. This is why he decided to work for a few years and then attend an evening university. Taipower says many of its employees retired over the past several years, and it needs to mass hire. Last year, 20,000 to 30,000 people vied for 766 positions. It expects the same number to apply for the 857 positions open this year. Meanwhile, Taipower has spent three years developing remote-operated robots capable of real time image transmission and temperature sensing to reduce risks related to maintenance.
Jao Yu-chen, Dep. Director, Distribution & Service Div., Taipower: “Strong winds and heavy rain may cause dangerous situations at our substations, so they will allow us to conduct passive inspections.”
Taipower says that once the robots are in mass production, they can be programmed and then deployed at substations for regular patrols and inspections. This way, workers won't have to go out during dangerous times such as typhoons or torrential rain.