Federation University has taken another step towards establishing a renewable energy training facility, inviting students for its second wind turbine technician course.
Partnering with renewable industry players, a group of students completed a pilot course last month, with a new intake beginning in July.
Fed Uni's Bill Mundy said the course was being refined, with an eye to providing essential and fundamental technician skills.
"Essentially, from the week commencing July 22, we'll be running the Global Wind Organisation basic technical training," he said, a standardised course endorsed by operators and suppliers.
"We're creating a group of people industry can directly pluck from to be technicians."
Mr Mundy added the course was suitable for people with an electrician or mechanic background who would be interested in additional training - the only other place to take the course in Australia is in Canberra.
"The model of coming and doing a course and having those post-trade qualifications positions you very well for taking an opportunity within the wind industry sector players," he said.
"This is about trying to stop importation of labour, and helping to build the local workforce."
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Turbine manufacturer Vestas is among the initial industry partners - the company is involved in several projects in western Victoria and recently began work on a factory in Geelong.
The company's senior project manager for Victoria Renewable Energy Auction project delivery, Neville Gall, said having a local workforce would be essential as more projects became operational.
"For us, the real benefit we get with Federation University is that we're starting from the ground up in some respects of tailoring training towards the wind industry," he said.
"In the construction phase, you have a lot more activity and work, and not all of that can be supported from the local community, but once it's up and running you want people from the community to be working on those projects.
"Demand is only going to ramp up - for us at the moment, we've got three major projects under construction in south west Victoria, which is around 740 megawatts of wind turbines."
Links with educational facilities like Federation University were also a sign the industry was beginning to mature in Australia, he added.
"Once you get that volume of projects and work that's happening in the state, it's a natural progression, you see a lot more of these support industries like education," he said, noting there was a lot of potential in the future if the university's planned Asia Pacific Renewable Energy Training Centre is funded and built in Ballarat.
"There's more projects with combinations of batteries and solar and wind, it becomes a renewable energy generator that's a culmination of these elements - it seems logical to move on that path to get skills needed in all those areas, because we are seeing a rationalisation of those technologies coming together," Mr Gall said.
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