Apprentices keep Queensland powering ahead

The Queensland electricity distribution industry is getting a boost with 102 apprentices starting their careers with Energex and Ergon Energy over the next month.

Assistant minister of state and member for Ipswich, Jennifer Howard, representing the Acting energy minister, on January 16, welcomed 34 Energex apprentices undertaking their initial training at the EsiTrain facility in Rocklea before being based at 14 depots across South-East Queensland.

Howard said they joined 17 apprentices from Energex’s mid-year intake and a further 68 apprentices who will soon work from 32 Ergon depots across regional and rural Queensland.

“These newcomers have been recruited to some of the most keenly sought apprenticeships on offer in Queensland.

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“An apprenticeship with Energex is more than a 9-to-5, Monday-to-Friday job. It is a commitment to the community and the start of a career,” said Howard.

Acting energy minister Mark Furner said the skills learned would help ensure Queensland continued to enjoy a world-class, safe and reliable electricity supply.

“They will become part of the crews keeping the lights on, often working in challenging conditions to restore power after storms and cyclones.”

Furner said 25 female apprentices would be inducted into what has traditionally been a male-dominated industry.

“The intake also includes 10 candidates identifying as being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island descent.

“The new apprentices will train as communications technicians, distribution linespersons, transmission linespersons, mechanical fitters, electricians or underground cable jointers,” said Furner.

Energy Queensland chief executive David Smales said a significant change of approach in South East Queensland this year resulted in apprentices being based at 14 depots, rather than at just six regional hubs and then being rotated around the smaller depots.

“This fits in well with our philosophy of offering most apprenticeships to local people so they can develop their skills while remaining in the community with their family and friends,” he said.

“As a result, we have recruited apprentices for our Gympie, Cooroy, Landsborough, Caboolture, Victoria Park, Cleveland, Beaudesert and Berrinba depots, in addition to the Maroochydore, Geebung, Kelvin Grove, Greenslopes, Raceview and Southport depots,” said Smales.