SETTING up renewable energy projects without training opportunities for the local workforce is putting "the cart before the horse," the convener of a think tank advocating for renewables training in the region said.
The state government's coordination of the New England Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) has not been up to scratch, according to New England Visions 2030 Institute convener Maria Hitchcock.
She met with a senior manager for the high voltage electricity transmission network operator Transgrid, Jason Kendall, who is developing a Clean Energy Training Centre with Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga.
The centre plans to offer training to at least 3500 participants to fill the coming 1500 trade and competency based jobs.
That model could be "easily adapted" for the New England REZ and run by a training provider or a private provider, she said.
"We need to be thinking of future employment opportunities for the people of this region," she said.
"Training is definitely a really important thing, but there's been no move towards setting up training facilities.
"It's too slow, it's uncoordinated.
The University of New England (UNE) recently formed a renewables hub, which works with local groups and people involved in the renewable energy sector.
Senior lecturer in applied ecology and landscape management Eric Nordberg said there had been some discussions about introducing more training and degree options related to renewables, but there was nothing in the pipeline yet.
"But it's something we're discussing," he said.
Renewables projects offer many opportunities for UNE students, including field trips, research projects and greater understanding of the renewables industry, Mr Nordberg said, and UNE is building relationships with companies to see what benefits can be achieved.
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