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Hunter TAFE creates skills in new industry

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With demand for specialist skills in renewable energy set to double in the next 16 years, Hunter TAFE has launched an Associate Degree in Applied Engineering (Renewable Energy Technologies).
At the end of 2012 more than 24,300 people were directly employed by the renewable energy sector. The Clean Energy Council forecasts more than 30,000 new jobs will become available by 2030. The market has grown significantly in the past decade with NSW claiming the highest number of employers within the industry.
An official launch of the 2014 program took place on Tuesday 18 February at Newcastle Campus, the original home of the University of Newcastle which opened in 1951. Hunter TAFE CEO, Phil Cox welcomed higher education students back to the site.
“Newcastle has in its most recent years become a hub for the wider electro technology industry.
“The new two-year program developed by TAFE NSW Higher Education is specifically designed to address the skills needs for para-professionals in renewable energy technologies,” he said.CSIRO Local Energy Systems Theme Leader, Dr Glenn Platt was joined by students, staff and guests in a presentation that highlighted the importance of preparing for this skill area. Dr Platt said renewable energy currently makes up around 13 per cent of Australia’s electricity supply, with a target of 20 per cent by 2020. “The Associate Degree will equip students with the knowledge and ability to design and apply a range of technologies in the renewable energy spectrum, with specialisation in either electrical or mechanical/civil engineering,” he said.Mr Cox said staff from the Mayfield-based CSIRO National Energy Research Centre contributed to the program’sdevelopment. “We have also been fortunate to collaborate with Western Sydney and Sydney TAFE Institutes and the University of Newcastle to develop this program,” he said. On successful completion of the Associate Degree in Applied Engineering (Renewable Energy Technologies) with Hunter TAFE, students may also choose to undertake a further one year of study to achieve a Bachelor of Engineering Technology (Renewable Energy Technologies) at the University of Newcastle. Hunter TAFE students can now undertake 3 higher education options at Hunter TAFE in career pathways that include accounting, applied engineering (renewable energy technologies) and early childhood education and care.