Australia’s renewable energy training tower

Last updated: 3 August 2023

As one of the world’s largest coal and natural gas producers, the global energy transition will have major impacts on Australia’s traditional workforce. By some estimates, the country will lose around 10 000 jobs in coal mines and at power plants by 2036. At the same time, Australia’s renewables sector has experienced significant growth in recent years, a trend that is expected to accelerate in coming years, which will present sizeable new job opportunities. Around 20 000 to 25 000 new jobs are predicted to be created in the country in the construction, maintenance and operation of renewable power. To avoid a labour shortage in the renewables sector, investments in skills training will be required. In response, wind energy company Vestas in 2022 opened the first renewable energy training tower at Federation University in Ballarat, Victoria. The tower is the first stage of the Asia Pacific Renewable Energy Training Centre (APRETC). Vestas, along with energy companies ACCIONA Energia, GPG and Tilt Renewables, invested AUD 1.8 million in APRETC, leveraging an AUD 50 000 investment by the government of Victoria. The opening of the tower will allow Federation University to begin offering Global Wind Organisation Standard Basic Safety Training and Basic Refresher Training this year. Over time, Federation expects to train more than 600 people annually, supplying the wind energy sector with a steady stream of qualified workers. In addition, by 2023, following an agreement with Germany’s BZEE Network, Federation will also offer the globally recognised post-trade turbine technician training course. The course is designed as a six-month intensive programme for electricians, mechanical fitters and automotive technicians and will include an internship with wind turbine manufacturers and service organisations that provides training on electrical, mechanical and hydraulic systems. Phase 2 of APRETC is currently in the planning stages, and is expected to offer specialised courses, such as for blade repair technicians, based on a new classroom, workshop and training equipment. 

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