A THINK tank will pressure TAFE NSW to address shortages in trades staff with renewable energy skills, as the region's clean power industry revs up.
More than 700 electricians will be required in the construction phase of the Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) centred around Armidale, New England Visions 2030 Institute predicts.
"There's going to be a huge shortage, and we need to get this training happening as quickly as possible," convenor Maria Hitchcock said.
Diplomas in renewable energy are offered in Ultimo and Newcastle. Training in solar grid connected systems, battery storage systems, and photovoltaic systems accreditation is offered in Tamworth.
"It seemed pretty silly that all of our electrical trades apprentices have to go to Tamworth to do their study," Ms Hitchcock said.
"We even have some trainers coming from Armidale and going to Tamworth, and that just seems ludicrous."
TAFE NSW collaborates with industry stakeholders to plan for skills needs in the New England identified REZ, a spokesperson said.
And, in addition to the targeted renewables courses in Tamworth, a pipeline of qualified electricians are trained to meet local demand.
The spokesperson also said TAFE NSW works with energy providers to understand their workforce requirements and has the capacity to scale delivery in line with future and emerging skills needs.
Members of the Armidale-based think tank were told in a meeting with customer and stakeholder relations head, Lea Sharpe that the college in Tamworth is nearing capacity, Ms Hitchcock said.
The group is gathering letters of support from the community, including Uralla mayor Robert Bell, and working to bring renewables companies into local high schools to promote future careers in the industry.
"These students are now looking at their futures, and we need to let them know that there is this opportunity for them to have a really interesting career," Ms Hitchcock said.
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