NEWCASTLE has been chosen as one of just two TAFE NSW campuses across the state to offer the new Diploma of Renewable Energy Engineering from next year.
The one year course - to be offered from July 25 at the Newcastle and Ultimo campuses, through a blend of virtual classroom learning and face-to-face practical workshops - and five new micro-credentials are aimed at helping students tap into the renewables jobs boom.
Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education Geoff Lee said the government was committed to a "cleaner, greener future" and needed not just the right renewable energy infrastructure, but also the right highly-trained workers.
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"As renewables gains that head of steam that we think it will - I think it's going to create something like 59,000 jobs over the next decade or two - we'll need to offer more courses, so this is just the start, really," Mr Lee said.
"Clearly there will be a future workforce required and that's what TAFE is especially good at, looking at what we need to do to skill up people so we don't have those critical skills shortages in the future."
The state government's own Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap is expected to support 6300 construction jobs and 2800 ongoing jobs, mostly in regional NSW, by 2030.
It has committed to halving NSW's emissions by 2030 and to achieve net zero by 2050.
"TAFE will always provide the training for the apprentices and trainees to service the mining sector, that will continue for many decades to come as a strong workforce," Mr Lee said, but added there must be "options" for those in mining.
"But we also have to use TAFE, to use the opportunities to reskill the workforce so as it moves into renewable energies that we have the workforce for those industries, whether it's hydro, whether it's wind, whether it's solar.
"We have to develop that workforce and we'll see that workforce growing very strongly as more and more governments prioritise renewable energies.
"The world is pushing us to do it anyway and we're going to have to do what our customers say."
He said many skills used in traditional mining could also be used in the renewables sector, including in green hydro.
Mr Lee said the diploma was targeted at qualified professionals who wanted to move into the renewables sector, plus people wanting to develop foundations, knowledge and skills for further study.
The diploma had been in the works for around 18 months, he said, was developed in collaboration with industry and would be aligned to high-demand jobs, including in solar, energy storage systems and wind technology.
Budgewoi's Scott Monahan worked as an electrician for 10 years before deciding to upskill at TAFE with an Associate Degree of Applied Engineering (Renewable Energy Technologies).
He now works at Gelion Technologies as a systems development and deployment engineer.
"A lot of people in the [renewables] industry are really passionate about what they do, so that sort of helps drive your own work," he said. "I'm a big fan of the course I did... if this is a extension of that, then I'd definitely recommend it to others."
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