• The Geraldton TAFE campus in Western Australia.
    The Geraldton TAFE campus in Western Australia.

The federal and state governments are jointly investing $70.5 million over five years to establish Australia's first TAFE Clean Energy Skills National Centre of Excellence in Western Australia.

The centre will operate across the WA TAFE network and be a skills leader in clean energy science, engineering, construction, and operation, supporting the net zero transformation and a Future Made in Australia.

Because of the size, scale, and diversity of projects being developed across WA in solar, wind, hydrogen, and batteries, the Centre of Excellence will leverage the existing strengths of the network of TAFEs across the state.

It will expand access to clean energy skills training opportunities at TAFE campuses in metropolitan Perth and in regional areas including Kalgoorlie, Albany, Bunbury, Geraldton, Karratha, and Broome.

A hub and spoke model will harness and develop the capability of WA TAFEs and training providers for thousands of Western Australians to skill up for our clean energy future.

Increasing the number of apprentices, particularly in trades such as electrical, engineering, automotive mechanical, plumbing, air conditioning, refrigeration, metal fitting and machining is vital to ensuring WA and Australia have the skills needed to reach net zero by 2050.

Under the guidance of an Industry Advisory Board, the Centre of Excellence will create a front door for industry to access comprehensive training and workforce solutions.

The federal government will invest $32.75 million matched by the WA Government, as well as a further $5.04 million to accelerate the creation of the centre to help meet the demand for a growing clean energy skilled workforce in the nation's transition to net zero.

The Commonwealth is investing $325 million under the five-year National Skills Agreement that began on 1 January to establish a network of up to 20 TAFE Centres of Excellence in areas of high skills needs.

This will help deliver a skilled workforce for strategically important industries to meet national challenges.

Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O'Connor said this $70 million project highlights the importance of developing and building clean energy skills for the net zero transition and a Future Made in Australia.

"This Centre of Excellence in WA will help develop high-quality, responsive skills training in the critical and rapidly evolving clean energy economy,” he said.

"Working with States and Territories, we're establishing up to 20 TAFE Centres of Excellence that will help respond to our most critical national skills needs."

WA Premier Roger Cook said the state will become a global clean energy powerhouse and provide quality jobs of the future.

"It is important that we are at the forefront of best practice in skilling and upskilling our workers for the clean energy jobs that will support the transition, with the world's eyes looking to WA as our people and industries lead the charge towards a clean energy future," Cook said.

"The new Centre of Excellence will skill thousands of Western Australians to take up quality clean energy jobs, and I thank the Albanese government for recognising WA as a key driver in the charge towards a clean energy future."

Minister for Training and Workforce Development Simone McGurk said TAFE will need world-class training facilities to deliver a skilled workforce for the future.

"This model will be critical in delivering the skilled workforce in partnership with industry. Partnerships with universities will also be important for the development of new qualifications, such as higher apprenticeships for emerging industries,” he said.

"WA will become the beating heart of Australia's development of skills and workforces to enable the clean energy transition, and this will propel the state forward in meeting its target of net zero by 2050."