By HARRY CLARKE
YOUNG resource industry aspirants in the gas, coal and renewables rich Surat Basin have increasing opportunity to train locally as TAFE Queensland continues to bolster its offering at campuses outside major centres.
In the Western Downs region – part of the Surat Basin – TAFE Queensland is aiming to help to build the skills and workforce required in the high demand electrical instrumentation and electrotechnology fields, with a new dual trade course offered at its Chinchilla campus.
“We’re setting up instrumentation electrical training and working with the community to meet the needs of industry, getting local trainers to make sure we get the appropriate training, and resources to do that training,” said TAFE Queensland’s Col Batzloff.
“Generally apprentices have had to travel to the larger centres for this kind of training. These courses keep the training local, and reduces the cost for industry and burden on apprentices.
“Our young apprentices, especially, are usually only just getting their driver’s licences so there’s an extra burden of travel. This is keeping it local and keeping people in the community.”
TAFE’s south west regional director, Tony Kruger, added: “The development of this hub in Chinchilla has allowed us to train here and train out west to Roma.”
“The fact that a student has to travel four to six hours to get to a campus creates a whole different learning experience for them, so setting this hub up entrenches that training within the community,” he said.
A set of new industry standard electrical test meters, donated by Origin Energy, is the latest addition to facilities at TAFE Queensland’s Chinchilla campus.
Nick King, president of local the Chinchilla Community, Commerce & Industry (CCCI) chamber and director of Intura, said the growth of the region’s renewable energy sector in recent years had increased demand for electricians significantly.
“Through our CCCI strategic plan we’ve identified opportunities to support education,” King said.
“We’ve been working with TAFE Queensland for two years in support of this campus. Through our work in partnering with Origin APLNG, we were successful obtaining a grant for this test equipment to support electrical instrumentation.
“This training supports the development of our electrical and instrumentation tradespeople and it’s relevant across all sectors of the industry and region in general – from domestic, to water treatment and coal seam gas, to our emerging hydrogen and renewable industries.”
“The demand for ENI tradespeople, to support the Queensland Government’s renewable energy targets, is in the hundreds.
“Everywhere you go there’s requirement for electrical process control, and instrumentation is hand in hand with electrical. As well as Origin we’d like to thank Fluke Australia and ThermoFisher Scientific for their support.”