February 24, 2023
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese visits Wollongong campus
PM tours $10M Energy Futures Skills Centre designed to upskill the Clean energy workforce of the future
The Prime Minister, the Hon Anthony Albanese MP, praised the University of Wollongong’s history of innovation during a visit to the University’s SMART Infrastructure Facility this morning (24 February 2023).
Mr Albanese was visiting UOW’s Wollongong campus to tour the $10 million Energy Futures Skills Centre, which is funded by the federal government.
Energy Futures Skills Centre was part of an election commitment to build the skills and capabilities needed for Australia’s transition to a clean energy future.
In partnership with a $2.5 million Renewable Energy Training Facility at Wollongong TAFE, the Energy Futures Skills Centre will help build the energy workforce of the future, using state-of-the-art teaching laboratories and upgraded equipment to provide real-world examples of clean energy technology for teaching and research.
It will deliver teaching programs to re-train and upskill workers for a career in clean energy and clean manufacturing.
“This announcement of an Energy Futures Skills Centre with $10 million in funding and $2.5 million dollars for a Renewable Energy Training Facility here in Wollongong is a major way in which our plans are fitting together,” Mr Albanese said.
“[It is] making sure we have the best innovation and science used here at the University of Wollongong to drive those changes, to drive energy efficiency, to lower costs while lowering emissions and making sure as well that we skill up Australians for the jobs of the future…
“If you put that picture together what you see is a plan for a transition of the economy that boosts economic growth, that boosts jobs, and particularly focuses on the regions. And that's why this is the obvious place to locate this Energy Futures Skills Centre.
“The combination that you have here in the Illawarra of a world class university, the University of Wollongong, together with the manufacturing history and the capacity that you have working with TAFE, of working to provide that opportunity going forward, means that this region has an incredibly bright future.”
During his visit, Prime Minister Albanese visited labs in the SMART Infrastructure Building and met with students and staff.
The Prime Minister was welcomed to UOW by Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Alex Frino, Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences Executive Dean Professor Gursel Alici and Energy Futures Network Director Ty Christopher.
“We're very pleased to be able to show the Prime Minister some of the amazing work that's going on at the University,” Professor Frino said.
“The funding for the Energy Futures Skills Centre will be used to build and reskill our workforce for the future and to produce energy industry ready graduates.
“As well producing the workforce of the future, UOW is driving research and innovation around developing clean, renewable energy and around transforming the electricity grid to meet future needs.
“The Energy Futures Skills Centre will engage with community and industry to bring the people and businesses of the Illawarra and Shoalhaven – and across Australia more broadly - on the journey towards decarbonisation.”
Mr Albanese was accompanied on his visit by the Member for Cunningham Alison Byrnes MP, the Member for Whitlam and Assistant Treasurer the Hon Stephen Jones MP, State Member for Keira Ryan Park MP and State Member for Wollongong Paul Scully MP.
The Energy Futures Skill Centre will deliver skills development programs with courses jointly designed by UOW and TAFE NSW to train the workforce of the future using state-of-the-art clean energy and clean manufacturing teaching laboratories.
The Centre will also collaborate with new and established businesses to develop business models in the clean energy and manufacturing space and operate as an energy outreach centre, engaging communities in the development of an equitable energy future with strategic partnerships between UOW, TAFE NSW and industry partners.
UOW has a long-established system of working closely with industry partners to provide sustainable solutions that support existing and emerging businesses as they look to adopt clean energy and manufacturing technologies.
World-class research facilities at the Australian Institute for Innovative Materials have developed new ways to efficiently produce green hydrogen from the Hysata technology and are working towards pioneering new battery storage technology.
UOW has provided advice on better ways to operate electricity grids to support solar and wind from the Australian Power Quality and Reliability Centre and has developed innovative new building materials and approaches through the Sustainable Buildings Research Centre.
UOW is also working with new technology start-up companies, providing research services, practical support and skilled researchers to fast-track innovation at the iAccelerate business accelerator.