Solar panel installation

Free solar training has been included as part of Victoria’s Free TAFE initiative to meet the state’s growing demand for solar installations.

From 1 July 2022, the Working Safely in the Solar Industry course will be added as a Free TAFE Short Course.

The two-day training – now mandatory for all on-site workers in Solar Victoria’s programs – gives electricians, plumbers, solar PV and battery installers and their apprentices the skills they need to install photovoltaic and solar water systems.

After a two-year pilot, the course in Working Safely in the Solar Industry has been expanded to be offered at 12 TAFEs – including seven in regional Victoria – after the pilot initially offered it at just four locations.

Victorian Minister for Training and Skills, Gayle Tierney, said, “The trial of this program has seen thousands of workers train for our booming solar program – and adding it to Free TAFE on an ongoing basis will make it even easier for them to get the skills they need for their work.”

The Victorian Government delivered a $2.1 million upgrade for Holmesglen’s Moorabbin and Drummond Street campuses – creating world-class facilities for solar workers to learn in an environment that simulates the job sites they will be working on.

More than 190,000 Victorians have accessed a solar panel rebate thanks to the Government’s $1.3 billion Solar Homes Program, cutting household energy costs and creating 5,500 jobs as the state aims to halve emissions by 2030.

Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, said, “Solar Homes has saved almost 200,000 Victorians thousands on their power bills. As this program grows, we’re making sure the tradespeople who install solar get the skills they need to work safely – for free.”

From the beginning of 2022, seven more full qualifications were added to Free TAFE – taking the total number on the list to more than 60, with new qualifications in high-demand sectors like veterinary nursing, leisure and health, outdoor leadership, training and assessment, workplace health and safety, IT and supply chain operations.

The Free TAFE course list is reviewed annually to deliver training for industry areas with a demand for skills and employment – reducing the barriers for all Victorians to getting the skills they need for the job they want.

Free TAFE has saved Victorian students more than $240 million in fees since it was introduced in 2019 – helping more than 100,000 people access the education and training they deserve. 

Free TAFE Short Courses do not affect a student’s entitlement to subsequently access a full Free TAFE course if they decide to upskill or change their careers down the track.

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