Joint statement – WA to host first TAFE Clean Energy Skills National Centre of Excellence

The Albanese and Cook Labor Governments are jointly investing $70.5 million over five years to establish Australia’s first TAFE Clean Energy Skills National Centre of Excellence in Western Australia.

The centre will operate across the WA TAFE network and be a skills leader in clean energy science, engineering, construction, and operation, supporting the net zero transformation and a Future Made in Australia.

The Clean Energy Skills National Centre of Excellence will:

  • Innovate training in clean energy technologies, including solar, wind, hydrogen, batteries and grid integration, and fast-track development and delivery of higher and degree-equivalent apprenticeship pathways;
  • Equip students with practical skills and knowledge-based capabilities to support innovation in the clean energy sector;
  • Build on existing collaborations between WA TAFEs, universities, and industry to co-design industry relevant training programs, facilitate applied research, and strengthen entry pathways between VET and higher education;
  • Partner with industry to drive skill development and support participation of more Western Australians, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and women, in clean energy jobs, and;
  • Network with TAFEs in other states and leverage partnerships with universities, Jobs and Skills Councils, employers, and unions to build the clean energy skills base across Australia.

Because of the size, scale, and diversity of projects being developed across WA in solar, wind, hydrogen, and batteries, the Centre of Excellence will leverage the existing strengths of the network of TAFEs across the State.

It will expand access to clean energy skills training opportunities at TAFE campuses in metropolitan Perth and in regional areas including Kalgoorlie, Albany, Bunbury, Geraldton, Karratha, and Broome.

A hub and spoke model will harness and develop the capability of WA TAFEs and training providers for thousands of Western Australians to skill up for our clean energy future.

Increasing the number of apprentices, particularly in trades such as electrical, engineering, automotive mechanical, plumbing, air conditioning, refrigeration, metal fitting and machining is vital to ensuring WA and Australia have the skills needed to reach net zero by 2050.

Under the guidance of an Industry Advisory Board, the Centre of Excellence will create a front door for industry to access comprehensive training and workforce solutions.

The Albanese Government will invest $32.75m, matched by the WA Government, as well as a further $5.04m to accelerate the creation of the centre to help meet the demand for a growing clean energy skilled workforce in the nation’s transition to net zero.

The Albanese Government is investing $325m under the five-year National Skills Agreement that began on 1 January to establish a network of up to 20 TAFE Centres of Excellence in areas of high skills needs.

This will help deliver a skilled workforce for strategically important industries to meet national challenges.

As stated by the Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor:

“This $70m investment in a Clean Energy Skills National Centre of Excellence highlights the importance of developing and building clean energy skills for the net zero transition and a Future Made in Australia.

“This Centre of Excellence in WA will help develop high-quality, responsive skills training in the critical and rapidly evolving clean energy economy.

“Working with States and Territories, we’re establishing up to 20 TAFE Centres of Excellence that will help respond to our most critical national skills needs.”

As stated by the WA Premier Roger Cook:

“We have ambitious plans for clean energy in this State, a vision that is shared by the Federal Government, industry, and Western Australians.

“As we leverage WA’s natural advantages to become a global clean energy powerhouse, the transition will offer a range of exciting opportunities for Western Australians to pursue careers and take up quality jobs of the future.

“It is important that we are at the forefront of best practice in skilling and upskilling our workers for the clean energy jobs that will support the transition, with the world’s eyes looking to WA as our people and industries lead the charge towards a clean energy future.

“The new Centre of Excellence will skill thousands of Western Australians to take up quality clean energy jobs, and I thank the Albanese Government for recognising WA as a key driver in the charge towards a clean energy future.”

As stated by the WA Minister for Training and Workforce Development Simone McGurk:

“This Centre of Excellence is education and training done in the most innovative way, with the Cook Government working closely with industries and communities to develop clean energy skills.

“In WA, clean energy projects will be located around the State and will require the capability and capacity of all our TAFEs to deliver contemporary training using world-class training facilities.

“This model will be critical in delivering the skilled workforce in partnership with industry. Partnerships with universities will also be important for the development of new qualifications, such as higher apprenticeships for emerging industries.

“WA will become the beating heart of Australia’s development of skills and workforces to enable the clean energy transition, and this will propel the State forward in meeting its target of net zero by 2050.”

As stated by the Member for Fremantle Josh Wilson:

“The global transition to net zero presents enormous economic opportunity for WA. Our plan for a Future Made in Australia acknowledges that we can’t be left behind.

“Through the extensive investment in TAFE,skills development, and the new Centre of Excellence, the Albanese and Cook Governments are creating the next generation of highly skilled workers to harness that opportunity.

“I am proud that this centre will have a presence in Fremantle as it works to accelerate towards clean energy and net zero, creating high-quality, and well-paid jobs for WA.”

/Public Release. View in full here.