The 2023/24 Victorian State Budget saw the allocation of funds for the re-emergence of the government owned State Electricity Commission (SEC).
As energy costs increase and we move further into renewables, security about energy costs and supply are paramount. With the government taking back the management of energy in Victoria through the SEC, it is anticipated it will become an active energy market participant once again.
While security around supply and reduced cost of energy are important, it is anticipated that the SEC will also provide training opportunities for trades people of the future. It was believed at the time of privatisation that the market would drive the need for workers, and that companies would service that need. In the area of apprenticeships, this was costly and time consuming and companies were not prepared to invest in skills for the future. Anybody working in the industry who is over the age of 55 probably commenced their training at the SEC. The government has expressed that to transition to clean energy 59,000 jobs will be created. Of those it is guaranteeing 10 per cent – or 6.000 – of those jobs will be apprenticeships and traineeships.
In the recent Budget, funding has also been allocated to introduce a clean energy stream in the VCE from 2024, plus facilitate opportunities for 10,000 students to undergo work experience in the clean energy sector. Six new tech schools will be built, as will Stage 2 of the Asia Pacific Renewable Energy Training Centre at Federation TAFE, and a Clean Energy Centre at TAFE Gippsland’s Morwell Campus. There will also be two new clean energy training facilities built, one for hydrogen and one for wind. Furthermore, there is also an allocation for a Centre of Excellence to coordinate and accredit courses in clean energy.
To support this training initiative, and to avoid future skills shortages for State‑owned and supported renewable energy projects, the Victorian government will institute local procurement requirements. This will assist in assuring long term channels of work are available in the future, thereby encouraging a career in the clean energy sector.
In formulating the plan for the SEC, an interim Chief Executive Officer and an expert advisory panel have been appointed. Locations are being set up in Melbourne and Morwell, with legislation being drafted to ensure history is not repeated through the dismantling of the SEC .
On the 29 June, the SEC Energy Jobs and Skills Forum will take place, bringing together more than 200 experts and stakeholders to help shape Victoria’s renewables workforce. This Forum will lay the foundations for the Victorian Energy Jobs Plan. We look forward to the discussions and the opportunities the plan will bring.
To read more about the SEC and the Victorian State Budget, visit 2023-24 State Budget.