Essential Energy has updated and enhanced its apprenticeship program through the development of clean energy micro-courses, helping to better guide student training and the nation’s transition towards renewable energy. 

The corporation has embarked on its largest apprenticeship recruitment campaign in more than 15 years. The update to the course comes after Essential Energy noticed projected gaps in industry capability through New South Wales as new and emerging technology and renewable power sources are rolled out across the state.

Essential Energy still intends to keep its traditional trade qualifications, which are integral to the corporation’s four-year long apprenticeship program, however, additional training modules, some in the form of micro-courses, will be introduced throughout the course. The new units aim to complement the existing programs and provide students with crucial on-the-job experience, supporting the expanding pipeline of new energy infrastructure projects across the state. 

Technology and innovations in energy are transforming the energy and infrastructure sectors, driving change across all aspects of the electricity supply chain and creating new job opportunities. 

Micro-courses will help guide the training of clean energy skills and expertise, with the plan to expand into accredited courses and training program components. Subjects will include courses covering:

  •  Solar energy
  •  SAPS (Stand Alone Power Systems)
  •  Battery storage
  •  Electric vehicles
  •  Commissioning (and decommissioning) renewable technologies

The apprenticeship program, which combines both study and practical experience, is seeking out 125 apprentices and trainees from across 77 locations in regional New South Wales. 

The campaign has already attracted strong interest from female candidates, reflecting the larger numbers of young women taking on STEM subjects at school, TAFE and university.

Recognised for its high completion rates (93 per cent), Essential Energy’s additional training program will cater for both apprentices and technicians who are transforming their career paths in readiness for a renewable world. 

Essential Energy, Chief People Officer, Amalie Smith, said, “Now is arguably the most exciting time ever to start an apprenticeship or traineeship in our sector; the opportunities and possibilities are endless. In reality, the jobs of the future are still being defined, which is one of the attractions for people entering the industry now. We aren’t just offering people a job, we are offering them a stimulating long-term career.

“We are committed to nurturing a diverse and highly skilled workforce required to support a renewable energy future, but we recognise that the capability can’t be developed overnight. The work to prepare our teams for the net zero journey must start now and that’s why our apprentices will be training for the jobs of the future, today.

“While traditional training modules will remain at the heart of Essential Energy’s apprenticeship programs, we are developing new courses and qualifications that will help meet the requirements of an energy sector accelerating towards net zero. Ensuring Essential Energy’s workforce remains at the forefront of evolving industry technologies is crucial to keep our people, our customers and the wider community safe,” Ms Smith said. 

The corporation also intends on exploring its regional footprint covering 95 per cent of the state to identify potential sites to host training programs for the new and renewable technologies and plans to collaborate with tertiary institutions and industry peers to share research and resources. 

Essential Energy powerline worker and recent graduate, Jacob Browne said, “It’s a great time to work in the industry and the way our everyday lives are powered is changing, and I love being a part of that change. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to learn new skills and be equipped for those crucial changes, in an important and fulfilling career at Essential Energy.”

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