The Hunter Jobs Alliance has renewed its push for the establishment of a TAFE New Industries Training Centre in the Hunter.
The alliance is among a number of industry groups that have expressed concern that the roll out of major renewable energy projects will be delayed by a chronic skills shortage in key trades.
Electrical, engineering and boilermaking trades are among those most in need for the construction of the state's five Renewable Energy Zones.
"Experts are saying that we can expect delays in the renewables roll out in just a few short years" Hunter Jobs Alliance coordinator Justin Page said.
"But this could be avoided if we invest in vocational education and skills now."
The state government announced on Thursday that it would invest $800 million to the Transmission Acceleration Facility to connect the state's Renewable Energy Zones to the grid sooner and bring forward the benefit schemes for communities.
The funding injection will support early works in the Central-West Orana Renewable Energy Zone, around Dubbo. This renewable zone, the first in NSW, is expected at its peak to support around 5,000 construction jobs.
The government is in the process of establishing several regional authorities that will complement the Commonwealth government's Net Zero Authority to support workers, industries and communities to seize transformational opportunities.
Reskilling and redeploying the existing workforce is a key focus of the authorities, which the government committed to during the election campaign.
The authority will also work in partnership with the newly established Hunter-based TAFE manufacturing centre of excellence.
The centre will train, retrain and upskill at least 300 apprentices and workers in "traditional and advanced manufacturing techniques and technologies" each year.
"Both the federal and state governments committed in principle to expanding skills and vocational education. We need them to take the plunge and get on with the job, there's no time to lose," Mr Page said.
"Training needs to focus on all the emerging industries such as offshore wind and green hydrogen, solar manufacturing and batteries."
The Hunter Jobs Alliance is calling for a TAFE New Industries Training Centre to be established in the Hunter to help achieve these goals.
"We have the resources, the knowhow and the industrial base here in the Hunter to provide training in renewables skills for the entire state" said Mr.Page.
A New Industries Training Centre would also provide pathways for young people, support workers in traditional industries looking to upskill.
A 2022 Institute for Sustainable Futures research project about the future demand for renewables as well as skill shortages. It also advised the state government on how to maximise local jobs within the state's five renewable energy zones.
"The bottom line is that we're very unlikely to be able to build all the projects in the pipeline, because we just don't have the volume of people. There's an unprecedented pipeline of projects on the way and renewables make up a fair chunk of them," the report said.
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