A massive shortage of qualified wind turbine technicians is providing job opportunities for tradies looking to change career.
Federation TAFE has had strong interest for tradies wanting to transition to the wind power generation industry since running a pilot Global Wind Organisation Basic Technical Training (GWO - BTT) qualification course earlier this year.
The qualification is a general introduction to wind turbine technology and is a prerequisite for working in the industry, but applicants must already have a trade qualification such as electrician, auto mechanic or mechanical fitter.
On Friday Federation TAFE launched three new scholarships for the GWO-BTT course, worth $3500 each, which will be offered for the next 10 years which are being funded by Tilt Renewables, which is developing the $560 million Dundonnell Wind Farm project near Mortlake.
Federation TAFE's Bill Mundy said the week-long course offered basic technical training to give a broad understanding of the manufacturing and technical requirements of wind turbines - but each company's turbines were slightly different because of the commercial and trade secrets of the different manufactureres'
"We provide the training that gives the ability to go and apply for jobs that exist in the industry," Mr Mundy said.
"There's a huge workforce shortage in the industry, whether that's role like project management, environmental scientist, construction worker or wind turbine technician, the shortage exists across the whole industry - the turbine technician areas we focus on there's definitely a shortage in.
"And it's not something you can come in to as part of an apprenticeship. You've got to have a trade before you can become employable by the industry so this is very much aimed at those folk.
"Most who have been through the pilot and first course we held this year seem to have about 10+ years in another industry and looking to transition from their existing employer and trade in to the industry."
The next course will be run in January.
"With so many large-scale wind farm developments getting underway across western Victoria, there is a huge opportunity for locals with transferable skills to train as wind turbine technicians and these scholarships funded by Tilt Renewable will cover the cost," said Federation TAFE executive director Barry Wright.
"Federation TAFE is one of the only two places in Australia that offers the Global Wind Organisation training, which is mandatory to work as a wind turbine technician. It means our graduates will be able to work in the wind power generation industry anywhere in the world."
Have you signed up to The Courier's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in Ballarat.