The Queensland government has announced a $17 million grant to establish a new “state-of-the-art” renewable energy training facility in Brisbane, focusing on apprentices, as part of the state government’s ongoing stimulus measures in response to Covid-19.
The facility, which will attract a total investment of $23 million after private sector contributions, will provide training in solar energy installations and maintenance, along with other renewable energy technologies, adding to an earlier tranche of financial support measures announced by the Palaszczuk government in May.
“This is part of the second stage of our Unite and Recover for Queensland Jobs plan which is all about creating jobs and future proofing Queensland,” Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.
“In the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s imperative that we prepare Queensland for the difficult road ahead and plot a definitive, responsible and comprehensive plan for our economic recovery.”
The new facility will provide world-class training in electrical, solar and telecommunications for thousands of Queenslanders each year while creating more than 40 jobs during construction.
The training facility will be operated by Electro Group Training, and will provide training for 750 apprentices a year, along with ongoing training for licenced electricians, including skills in solar power installation, operation and management.
CEO of Electro Group Training, Donna Pickford, said the new facility will help support the growth of renewable energy employment in Queensland. There were more than 6,300 people employed in Queensland’s renewable energy sector in 2018-19, including 4,730 people installed in the solar industry.
Queensland is the second-largest employer of renewable energy workers in Australia, with employment in the sector almost doubling over the last two years, driven by significant growth in the state’s solar sector.
“This is a fantastic partnership that will provide so many of our current and future electrical workers with the skills they need in emerging technologies,” Pickford said.
“Investing in state-of-the-art facilities will ensure we can provide the training for the growing industry.”
Queensland minister for training and skills development, Shannon Fentiman, said the investment in the new training facility was a key step in ensuring the state had the skills necessary to support a growing clean energy sector, and that the state was prepared for a post Covid-19 economy.
The Palaszczuk previously announced $14.8 million in funding to support the completion of a feasibility study into the ‘CopperString’ project to connect the state’s North West minerals province to the wider electricity grid, an $20 million to help expand the Queensland Apprenticeships Centre to provide training in renewable hydrogen technologies.
The CopperString project could potentially unlock new investment in wind and solar projects to supply power to a part of Queensland rich with minerals and precious metals that can supply the modern low emissions industries, including materials for battery and electric vehicle components.
In a separate announcement, the Queensland government announced that it would provide $10 million worth of exploration grants to further expand the state’s ‘green’ resources sector.
“Queensland is rich in the minerals needed to manufacture the computers and smartphones we are communicating with, the renewable energy components needed to power them and the batteries we need to store the power,” Palaszczuk added.
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