Australian Government unveils New Energy Apprenticeships

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Image credit: Patrick Gorman MP, Twitter

The Australian Government has launched the New Energy Apprenticeships program, boosting the Government’s commitment to net zero emissions.

The Federal Government announced it would allocate $95.6 million over nine years to support 10,000 New Energy Apprenticeships. The Government stated that an army of skilled workers would be needed to build and install the needed infrastructure to reach the target of 43% emissions reductions by 2030 and net zero by 2050.

The program, which will see eligible apprentices receive up to $10,000 throughout their apprenticeship to help with the cost of living, was launched by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor, joined by Member for Perth Pat Gorman.

The New Energy Apprenticeships program is part of the Powering Australia Plan, which will aid in the development of a pipeline of talent to deliver Australia’s clean energy infrastructure.

Adertisement

Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor stated that clean energy sectors, such as solar installation, large-scale renewable projects, electric vehicles, green hydrogen, and renewable manufacturing, represent the future for Australia’s workers.

“The New Energy Apprenticeships Support Payment is designed to encourage apprentices to choose a career in the clean energy sector, support them through it, and help them complete their training to go on and have successful careers,” Minister O’Connor said.

According to the National Skills Commission’s 2022 Skills Priority List, the jobs in shortage in Western Australia (WA) primarily indicate the national deficit. They include, among others, the care industry, hospitality and tourism, construction, and digital and technology.

There are several clean energy occupations with very high job vacancies in WA among the top 20 occupations with skills shortages, including:

  • Metal Fitters and Machinists,
  • Structural Steel and Welding Trade Workers,
  • Electricians, and
  • Motor Mechanics.

The Commonwealth Government said some jobs in WA’s clean energy sector that are in short supply include:

  • Automotive Electricians,
  • Mechanical Engineering Draftspersons and Technicians, and
  • Sheetmetal Trades Workers.

According to the Australian Government, the New Energy Apprenticeships initiative is part of a broader effort to reverse the previous administration’s trend of lowering apprentice completion rates.

The Albanese Government said its plan would provide New Energy apprentices with financial assistance, networking opportunities, and the option to engage with an industry mentor.

“We must build greater skills capacity in the clean energy sector, so our economic growth isn’t impeded, and Australia’s clean energy transition continues to accelerate to achieve our 2030 Emission Reduction Target,” Minister O’Connor added.

The news follows the Australian Government’s commitment to a $1 billion 12-month Skills Agreement, which would provide 180,000 fee-free TAFE and vocational education seats to priority groups by 2023, jointly funded by states and territories.

Fee-Free TAFE will expand possibilities and workforce participation for priority groups such as First Nations Australians, young people aged 17-24, those out of employment or on income support, unpaid carers, women studying in non-traditional sectors, and persons with disabilities.