Case Study: Ryan McKenna’s experience on the Ex01-Ex04 Gas and Vapours qualification

Ryan McKenna works as an electrical engineer at international energy company, Electricity Supply Board. Responsible for managing Ireland’s electricity network, Ryan’s primary role within the company is the maintenance of electrical assets within the ESB Power Generation Fleet in Ireland. To boost his proficiency in hazardous environments, he recently undertook CompEx’s Ex01-Ex04 Gas and Vapours Assessment.

The CompEx qualification

 Designed for electrical and instrument technicians working in hazardous locations where gas and vapours are present, the CompEx Ex01-Ex04 qualification has been developed to ensure that workplace competency is maintained within these explosive environments.

As an electrical engineer charged with maintaining electrical assets within ESB’s powerplant fleet, Ryan is frequently exposed to environments which contain potentially explosive fumes and thus met the entry criteria of the course. Having reviewed several gas and vapours courses, Ryan singled out the CompEx assessment as his preferred training course and subsequently signed up to complete the qualification at the CompEx training centre in Cork.

Ryan comments that, “The qualification had come highly recommended by many of my colleagues at ESB and so I was assured about the quality of the training provided. I was impressed, also, by the fact that CompEx had certified over 100,000 candidates, as well as CompEx’s reputation as experts in the field of competency validation and certification.”

Taught over a five-day period, with the final two days used for practical inspections and the online exam, Ryan learnt about the safety considerations that should be applied to work areas which contain potentially explosive or flammable atmospheres, as well as the best methods for installing, inspecting and maintaining certified Ex electrical equipment.

The experience

 Ryan comments, “My experience training with CompEx was incredibly positive. The teaching of the course combined both theory and application – meaning that we were given the opportunity to complete practical, hands-on examples as part of our actual learning process. For me, this was a highly beneficial way of learning since it allowed me to practise the jobs that I would be doing within the ESB powerplants and test my understanding of the subject.

“Another highlight was the quality of the teaching itself. Our course tutor was not only a capable and effective communicator but someone who brought with him an incredible wealth of knowledge and expertise. I was especially impressed with how clearly he explained the content, as well as how he drew upon his experience within the field as part of his teaching, namely the time he spent working in on-site inspections in mines around the UK.

“It was also great to have a local trainer from Jones Engineering on site, since he helped clarify any uncertainties or problems that came up as part of the course and was able to provide extra time to ensure that everyone’s understanding of the topics was secure. The inclusion of a local trainer was particularly good at providing a context to the course from a localised point of view, and helped each of us understand how the Irish/European standards compared to the UK’s. As someone who works with an Irish-based electrical supplier, I found this information very constructive and helpful to my own day-to-day job.

“Although I am still waiting to hear back from the results from my assessments, I am already able to see the benefits of taking the Gas and Vapours assessment to my workplace competency. I am really looking forward to putting my CompEx certificate to immediate use and am excited about the opportunities that I believe will allow me to work on projects with explosive atmospheres. For those who are also involved in hazardous processes, I really recommend applying to the Ex01-Ex04 Gas and Vapours course – even those with many years’ experience in the industry would benefit from this assessment.”

For more information about the Ex01-Ex04 Gas and Vapours qualification and to find your nearest centre, visit

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