Research and development projects are underway in a range of renewable energy industries and these will offer job opportunities in the years ahead.
TAFE SA is working with industry to identify current and future training requirements and have representatives working with several industry research groups including the Heavy Industry Low-Carbon Transition Cooperative Research Centre (HILT CRC) and the Hydrogen (H2H) industry group.
Involvement at the research stage will ensure TAFE SA is prepared for future training needs with appropriate technology, facilities, lecturers and courses. It also enables TAFE SA to identify transferable skills that workers can adapt to these new workplaces.
Solar and wind are the most developed of the renewable industries and TAFE SA delivers a Solar Energy Accreditation Program for existing holders of electrical licences who are looking to upskill so they can design and install grid-connected solar/photovoltaic (PV) systems.
There is growing interest in hydrogen to replace fossil fuels. With a proposed Hydrogen power plant for Whyalla in regional South Australia, TAFE SA has recently launched the Hydrogen Fundamentals micro-credential to deliver core information about the gas and how to handle it safely.
TAFE SA’s Julie Pisano, Acting Director of Strategic Industry Partnerships, says existing gas fitters are the primary market for the online training but it is also useful for anybody with an interest in renewable industries.
“With these industries, skills aren’t necessarily changing but the knowledge is different,” she says.
“For instance, with a gas fitter, they will use the same type of equipment and skills, but they’ll need to understand the differences between the properties and characteristics of LNG and hydrogen.”
Julie says people looking to work in renewable industries should consider their existing skills, many of which are transferable to solar, wind and hydro industries.
“There are pathways for people with electrical licences or a Certificate III in Engineering – Mechanical to upskill and work on wind turbines,” Julie says.
“And, of course, TAFE SA’s Solar Energy Accreditation Program enables electricians and apprentice electricians to develop the skills they need to install grid-connected solar systems and battery storage systems.”
As new businesses establish themselves in emerging renewable energy industries, they will need employees with a diverse range of skills from business management to surveying and civil construction.
“There’s an entire eco-system of jobs that will support these industries, and that includes workplace health and safety, human resources, finance, and project management,” Julie says.