Australia’s first clean energy TAFE centre to launch in WA

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Image credit: pxl/stock.adobe.com

Western Australia is poised to become a key hub for clean energy education with the Albanese and Cook Governments investing $70.5 million over five years to establish the first TAFE Clean Energy Skills National Centre of Excellence.

This initiative aims to position WA as a leader in clean energy science, engineering, construction, and operation, aligning with the national goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2050, the government said in a media statement.

The Centre, which will operate across the WA TAFE network, is designed to innovate training in various clean energy technologies such as solar, wind, hydrogen, batteries, and grid integration.

It will expedite the development and delivery of higher and degree-equivalent apprenticeship pathways, equipping students with essential practical skills and knowledge.

“This $70m 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,” stated Brendan O’Connor, Minister for Skills and Training.

By building on existing collaborations between WA TAFEs, universities, and industry, the Centre will co-design industry-relevant training programs, facilitate applied research, and strengthen pathways between vocational education and higher education.

This initiative aims to support the participation of a diverse workforce, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and women, 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,” said WA Premier Roger Cook.

He added, “As we leverage WA’s natural advantages to become a global clean energy powerhouse, the transition will offer a range of exciting opportunities for Western Australians to pursue careers and take up quality jobs of the future.”

In particular, the Centre will adopt a hub-and-spoke model, expanding access to clean energy skills training at TAFE campuses throughout metropolitan Perth and regional areas such as Kalgoorlie, Albany, Bunbury, Geraldton, Karratha, and Broome.

This model will harness and develop the capabilities of WA TAFEs and training providers, preparing thousands of Western Australians for careers in the burgeoning clean energy industry.

WA Minister for Training and Workforce Development Simone McGurk emphasised, “In WA, clean energy projects will be located around the State and will require the capability and capacity of all our TAFEs to deliver contemporary training using world-class training facilities.”

An Industry Advisory Board will guide the Centre, ensuring it provides comprehensive training and workforce solutions to meet industry demands.

The Albanese Government has committed $32.75 million, matched by the WA Government, with an additional $5.04 million allocated to accelerate the Centre’s creation.

This investment is part of a broader $325 million National Skills Agreement aimed at establishing up to 20 TAFE Centres of Excellence across Australia.

“Working with States and Territories, we’re establishing up to 20 TAFE Centres of Excellence that will help respond to our most critical national skills needs,” O’Connor added.