New university and vocational training facilities in Wollongong will train workers in clean energy and clean manufacturing after a $12.5 million commitment from the federal government.
A $10 million investment will be made in the University of Wollongong to establish the Energy Futures Skills Centre, while $2.5 million has been committed to create the Renewable Energy Training Facility at the Wollongong TAFE.
Wollongong is already home to cutting edge green hydrogen initiatives, while the wider Illawarra region is being touted as future renewable energy powerhouse because of existing infrastructure and workforce.
Announced on Friday by the Albanese government, the investment honours an election commitment and follows the funding being allocated in the October Budget.
“Renewable energy not only means more affordable and reliable energy over the long term, it means greater economic opportunity in the regions that have always powered Australia,” Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said.
“That’s why we are skilling the workforce needed to power Australia’s future with renewable energy.”
The Energy Futures Skill Centre will run skills development programs with courses jointly designed by the University of Wollongong and TAFE NSW using state-of-the-art clean energy and clean manufacturing teaching laboratories.
The investment in Wollongong TAFE will go to upgrading equipment and teaching aids, creating a Renewable Energy Training facility.
“After a decade of neglect, putting the skills and research that will drive renewable investment in the regions that can take advantage of the opportunity will grow jobs and local business,” Minister for Skills Brendan O’Connor said.
“This investment sets up Wollongong to develop the skills to be a leader in the energy transformation of the coming years and decades.”
The skills investment comes ahead of an expected massive expansion in clean energy and clean manufacturing in the traditional coal and steel region of Illawarra.
Late last year, the New South Wales government announced a draft declaration for the Illawarra Renewable Energy Zone after identifying it could attract $43 billion in additional investment.
Potential projects include off shore wind generation, sola, batteries pumped hydro, hydrogen production and green steel manufacturing. Public consultation on the draft declaration closed this month, with state Energy minister Matt Kean to make the final declaration.
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