Renewables, Research, Solar, Training

Powering pathways to a solar career

Holmesglen Institute

Holmesglen Institute is preparing Australia’s clean energy workforce for a net-zero future by expanding its course offerings to non-electrician students.

Australia’s clean energy transition is reshaping the landscape of the nation’s workforce. New career opportunities are emerging across the renewables sector and demand for skilled solar professionals is increasing.

To address this demand, Holmesglen Institute’s Renewable Energy Centre of Excellence, in Melbourne, is offering nationally accredited training programs to equip people working in the electrical trade, as well as non-electricians, with skills and knowledge for a career in solar energy.

Holmesglen Institute’s renewable energy senior instructor, David Tolliday, said the new national programs provide rewarding opportunities for anyone to enter the solar industry.

“While only electricians can install solar systems, everyone can learn how to design one, which involves planning, placing and configuring a system to efficiently capture sunlight,” he said.

The pathway for non-electricians to join the solar industry and gain accreditation in solar design includes:

  • A foundational short course: The “UEERE0054 Conduct Site Survey for Grid-Connected Photovoltaic (PV) and Battery Storage Systems” course is an entry point to the solar energy industry for people from diverse backgrounds. It covers fundamental aspects of PV and battery storage systems, and is suitable for people working in solar sales or in a solar company’s office, as well as electricians and engineers. The curriculum teaches students how to conduct site surveys and effectively communicate with customers, designers and tradespeople.
  • Course in lieu of electrical qualification: The “UEERE0051 Apply Electrical Principles to Renewable Energy Design” course teaches students electrical knowledge that underpins design of a solar system. Engineers may fast-track this unit.
  • Two short courses to gain accreditation: The “UEERE0061 Design Grid-Connected Photovoltaic Power Supply Systems” and “UEERE0060 Design Grid-Connected Battery Storage Systems” short courses complete the pathway for solar design accreditation.

Electricians and engineers who are interested in up-skilling or gaining accreditation can tailor their training to suit career goals.

All students must complete the “Foundational Site Survey” course. Engineers can fast-track the “Apply Electrical Principles” course and undertake the “PV Power Supply Systems” course or “Battery Storage Systems” course to gain accreditation to design solar systems.

Training a solar-skilled workforce
Underpinning the modern approach to solar training is the Victorian Government’s “Clean Economy Workforce Development Strategy 2023-2033”.

With 30 per cent of Australia’s renewable energy jobs being based in Victoria, the 10-year plan aims to grow the training sector’s green energy capacity, improve access to energy qualifications, and meet rising industry demand for clean energy skills.

The State Electricity Commission (SEC) in Victoria is expected to contribute 59,000 jobs in renewable energy, and up to 6000 positions for apprentices and trainees.

Holmesglen Institute is one of the largest TAFEs in Victoria. It is considered the state’s premier training facility for renewable energy and has expanded its amenities for nationally accredited courses since 2008.

“To meet the demand for skilled clean energy workers, Holmesglen Institute’s Renewable Energy Centre of Excellence is leading the way in providing quality hands-on training,” Tolliday said.

“This is an ideal time to upskill or reskill and join the clean economy workforce as renewable energy rapidly expands in Victoria and Australia.”

For more information, visit Holmesglen.

This article featured in the December 2023 edition of ecogeneration. 

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