More than 100 workers are to be upskilled to service the future electrical landscape, with Western Power and Horizon Power workers starting a course to become electrical fitters.

The cleaner, greener delivery of electricity to customers across Western Australia is requiring new skills in the energy sector.

The Western Australian Government has invested in a first-of-its-kind training program to upskill its energy utility workers in new energy technology solutions, such as standalone power systems.

Western Power and Horizon Power have enlisted 12 employees to commence a 18-month program at North Metropolitan TAFE to become trade-qualified electrical fitters.

Once qualified, the employees will be able to operate, maintain and repair standalone power systems, which combine solar, battery and diesel generation.

The Horizon Power Port Hedland and Karratha-based employees will be able to maintain and repair the North West Interconnected System transmission terminal yards and distribution substations in the Pilbara, as well as the new Onslow utility-grade solar farm and battery.

Horizon Power’s Chief Executive Officer, Stephanie Unwin, said the development of the training program provides career pathways for energy industry employees to continue to service the changing electrical landscape.

“We have worked with our industry counterparts and leaders in training development at TAFE and the training council to develop this pilot training program, ensuring jobs remain in regional communities and our people are equipped to meet their demands of the renewable energy future,” Ms Unwin said.

The training program is a collaboration between TAFE, Horizon Power, Western Power and the WA Utilities, Engineering, Electrical and Automotive Training Council.

By 2020, Horizon Power will have installed 17 standalone power systems for customers living in the Neridup and Beaumont farming areas in the Goldfields-Esperance region.

This new training initiative complements Western Power’s existing partnership with TAFE to develop skills for the growing rollout of standalone power units.

Western Power will install a further 57 standalone power systems this year, which is Australia’s biggest rollout.

Wetern Australian Education Minister, Sue Ellery, said, “The WA Utilities, Engineering, Electrical and Automotive Training Council and North Metropolitan TAFE are working closely with industry to ensure we have a workforce skilled to support energy transformation.

“This training program will ensure we keep jobs in our regions by futureproofing our workforce with the necessary skills and qualifications.”

Western Australian Energy Minister, Bill Johnston, said, “The energy sector is experiencing a rapid transformation worldwide; it’s important we have the appropriate training programs available to upskill our workers and ensure they’re equipped to meet the technological requirements of the future.

“The McGowan Government is committed to delivering a cleaner, brighter and more resilient energy supply for Western Australians for decades to come.”

Siobhan Day is the Assistant Editor of Utility magazine and Pump Industry magazine, and has been part of the team since early 2019. With a background in management in the non-profit sector, Siobhan has extensive experience in communications, professional writing and client management. She holds a Bachelor of Business and Communications and is currently completing a postgraduate degree.

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