Australia, Policy, Projects, Renewables, Solar, Solar, Storage, Training

$70m investment creates Australia’s first clean energy skills centre

The Commonwealth and Western Australian Governments are jointly investing $70.5 million over five years to establish Australia’s first TAFE Clean Energy Skills National Centre of Excellence in Western Australia.

The centre will operate across the WA TAFE network and serve as a national leader in training for clean energy science, engineering, construction, and operations.

Its goal is to support the net zero transformation and the Future Made in Australia plan.

With a hub-and-spoke model, the Clean Energy Skills National Centre of Excellence will harness and develop the capabilities of WA TAFEs and training providers. It aims to skill up thousands of Western Australians for careers in the clean energy sector.

“We have ambitious plans for clean energy in this State, a vision that is shared by the Federal Government, industry, and Western Australians,” WA Premier Roger Cook said.

“The new Centre of Excellence will skill thousands of Western Australians to take up quality clean energy jobs.”

“This $70 million investment in a Clean Energy Skills National Centre of Excellence highlights the importance of developing and building clean energy skills for the net zero transition and a Future Made in Australia,” Brendan O’Connor, Minister for Skills and Training said.

The centre will innovate training in areas like solar, wind, hydrogen, batteries, and grid integration. It will equip students with practical skills and knowledge to drive innovation in clean energy. Collaborations with universities and industry will co-design training programs, facilitate research, and strengthen pathways between VET and higher education.

“This Centre of Excellence is education and training done in the most innovative way, with the Cook Government working closely with industries and communities to develop clean energy skills,” Simone McGurk, WA Minister for Training and Workforce Development said.

Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia (ITECA), the peak body representing independent Registered Training Organisations (RTOs), higher education, and international education providers welcomed the decision.

“With the combined contribution of independent skills training providers and public TAFE colleges, this initiative will lead the nation’s clean energy skills training,” Troy Williams, ITECA Chief Executive said.

“The Centre will be at the forefront of education and training in clean energy science, engineering, construction, and operation, supporting Australia’s transition to net zero and fostering a future made in Australia, so the involvement of independent RTOs is critical success in this area.”

Increasing apprenticeships, particularly in trades like electrical, engineering, and plumbing, is vital to ensuring Australia has the skills for net zero by 2050. The centre will partner with industry to support participation of underrepresented groups in clean energy jobs.

An Industry Advisory Board will create a front door for industry to access comprehensive training and workforce solutions.

The Commonwealth is investing $32.75 million, matched by the WA Government, plus $5.04 million to accelerate the centre’s creation.

This is part of the Commonwealth’s $325 million investment to establish up to 20 TAFE Centres of Excellence nationwide in high-demand sectors.

The centre will expand access to training across WA, including in Perth, Kalgoorlie, Albany, Bunbury, Geraldton, Karratha, and Broome.

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