Electrician training facility seeks to stem skills shortage

A new site for the training of electricians has opened in Chullora, NSW.

Developed by the National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA), the Training and Apprenticeships Centre of Excellence, will provide training for first-year electrical apprentices.

When fully operational, a maximum of 500 apprentices and post-trade learners will utilise the facilities at the centre.

“The Centre of Excellence is well-positioned to become one of the best of its kind in Australia,” said Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education, Geoff Lee.

According to a report from the Australia Department of Jobs and Small Business, NSW is currently experience a shortage of electricians, with the reporting noting that “Employers were generally not able to fill vacancies in metropolitan and regional NSW”.

In the survey period, 21 per cent of vacancies were filled, compared with 58 per cent in the previous period. The report said that the reason for the unfulfilled vacancies were due to the lack of applicants or suitable applicants. On average, less than 1 applicant per vacancy were considered suitable by employers. A rise in construction in residential and non-residential building, as well as a drop in the number of completions of electrician apprentices was determined to be a factor.

In addition to the simple increase in demand, the increasingly complex buildings that are a feature of modern-day construction are impacting on the need for electricians. In 2018, CEO of the NECA, Suresh Manickam, highlighted how electricians were in need.

“Electricians are more and more in demand as technology becomes increasingly complex and integrated. Internally, we’re seeing the introduction of smart homes with interconnected electrical equipment controlled remotely from a single device such as a phone,” he said.

“Externally, as consumers seek to reduce their energy bills and their environmental footprint, they’re installing solar panels and battery storage systems.”

The training centre hopes to attract and retain the skilled electricians needed in industry.

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