5 June 2023

Eurobodalla grassroots campaign brings electrical apprenticeships closer to home

| Katrina Condie
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Two electricians working

Electrical apprentices Jay Tiedt Freeman and Steve Holder at work. Photo: RFR.

In a region first, electrical apprenticeship training will soon be on offer in the Eurobodalla.

Volunteer-led group, Repurposing for Resilience (RfR) Eurobodalla, is coordinating the nationally accredited training which will be run by the National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA).

RfR spokesperson Lisa Cornthwaite said, with the renewable energy industry reliant on accredited electricians, the provision of locally based training for apprentices was essential.

“The RfR is really excited about finally bringing this opportunity to the South Coast,” she said.

“This is a first of its kind and very much a grassroots response to addressing the lack of training in our regional area.

“Currently, electrical trade training requires students to travel to Canberra, Nowra or Sydney, either weekly or in blocks.

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“This option is often out of reach to school leavers wishing to enter the trade or mature-age apprentices with family and/or business commitments.

“Making this training accessible locally will assist employers and apprentices with the costs, disruptiveness and often danger associated with long distance travel, and makes electrical apprenticeships available to a larger cross section of the community.”

She said that making the training accessible to employers, apprentices and school leavers in the Eurobodalla would be a game changer for small business and growing a more sustainable workforce.

Weekly classes for first year apprentices will commence at Tuross Heads in July and availability is expected to grow to include subsequent apprentice years and post-trade training.

Spaces are still available and electrical businesses and those interested in an apprenticeship are encouraged to get in touch with RfR as soon as possible at [email protected].

A training group

Community group volunteers recently took part in RfR workshops. Photo: RfR.

RfR is also running subsidised, practical workshops using hands-on techniques, to train community members to reuse and repurpose waste.

Soldering, sustainable house design, art from waste packaging and robotics with waste as well as test and tagging of portable appliances are a few of the workshops on offer over the coming year.

Lisa said nationally accredited ‘Test and Tag’ training was recently provided to volunteers of community organisations to assist with their ongoing costs.

The next round of training will commence on 4 July and there are still a few places on offer.

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Motivated by concern for the environment and a desire to be part of the solution, and unwilling to wait for “someone else” to do it, RfR is tackling the environmental impact of the renewable energy industry.

Lisa said that with an innovative, value-adding approach to waste and a strong emphasis on growing a more sustainable workforce through regional training, the organisation was “making waves”.

RfR’s purpose is simply to reuse solar panels and associated components where possible and repurpose those they can’t to keep equipment out of landfill and reduce costs to community and the environment associated with that of heavy industrial materials recycling.

Find out what the volunteers are up to at the RfR website.

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