New National Apprenticeship – Horizon Power

L-R; Shane O’Byrne (Technical Training Coordinator Horizon Power); Brendan Walters of Yungngora; Keith Hunter of Bidyadanga; Shane Eeles (UEEA Training Council); Jonathan Andrews (Director Energy Skills Solutions); Robert Hassett of Kalumburu and Clinton (Minty) Sahanna – who covers the Dampier Peninsula communities of Beagle Bay, Lombadina/Djarindjin and Ardyaloon.

Horizon Power Media Release – 29 June 2017


Four men from some of the most remote Aboriginal communities in Western Australia have just become the first people to complete a unique new national apprenticeship created by Horizon Power to improve outcomes in remote communities.

Keith Hunter, of Bidyadanga, Clinton (Minty) Sahanna who covers the Dampier Peninsula communities of Beagle Bay, Lombadina/Djarindjin and Ardyaloon, Robert Hassett, of Kalumburu and Brendan Walters, of Yungngora are Australia’s first Remote Community Utilities Workers (RCUWs).

They live and work in their communities, maintaining electrical networks and, in Kalumburu and Yungngora, maintain the power stations.

The four men are the pioneers of this unique trade and have worked alongside Horizon Power in the development of the training program. Work on the development of the program began in 2008.

It has been a long journey for the four men and today they were awarded with their trade certificates and statements of attainment in the Certificate III Electricity Supply Industry (ESI) Remote Community Utilties Worker (RCUW) qualification, marking the end to their apprenticeships.

Minty Sahanna received his trade certificate at Horizon Power’s Broome office yesterday. “It benefits Indigenous people who live in their community to have a sense of pride and achievement.  It’s great that the team and I are recognised for the time and effort we all put in with a nationally registered qualification.”

Before the apprenticeship program began, it could take a day for crews based in Kununurra just to get to towns like Kalumburu if there was a power outage and even longer during the wet season.

Horizon Power Managing Director Frank Tudor said the trade qualification was unique to Western Australia and he was very proud of the first four graduates, for achieving their significant goals and of the business for establishing the program.

He said the RCUW trade qualification was designed to improve the reliability of power supplies in remote Aboriginal communities, and reduce the duration of outages but importantly to also create jobs and boost the economic development and sustainability of these regional communities.

“The four RCUWs were the pioneers of this work and were actually involved in the development of the training to ensure it met the unique needs of remote communities and, critically, safety requirements given the requirement to work alone.”

“Importantly, they have also served as role models for the young people in their community and are on hand to assist their community with issues relating to their power,” he said.

“Horizon Power services remote and regional WA through a decentralised model and we live and work in our communities – it doesn’t matter if those communities are hundreds of kilometres from the nearest town.”

While planning for the program started back in 2007, the training did not begin in earnest until 2009 and the four team members had to brush up their maths skills in order to undertake the trade qualification, which is most similar to that of an electrical distribution lineworker.

The National Certificate III Remote Community Utilities Worker (RCUW) trade qualification was registered as a Class A Apprenticeship in September 2016 by the State Training Board on behalf of the WA Government.

In 2009, the then Aboriginal Communities Training program, from which this qualification evolved, was awarded two WA Premier’s Award for “Improving Government” and “Innovation” and an Australian Business Award for “Community Contribution”.

Three years later in 2012, it achieved national trade recognition which means it can be adopted by other electricity utilities and companies throughout Australia who operate in remote communities.

Mr Tudor said Horizon Power provided a regularised electricity service to more than 40 remote and town-based Aboriginal communities throughout the Kimberley, Pilbara and Mid West regions.

“We are working closely with the State Government in the hope we will be able to improve the maintenance and quality of electrical infrastructure in more Aboriginal communities in regional WA and to work with communities to provide further training and employment opportunities where possible,” Mr Tudor said.

 “We would love to build on this important work and provide more job opportunities for Aboriginal people in communities to ensure a sustainable future,” Mr Tudor said.

“I am extremely proud today of what we have achieved with this program but more importantly, what Clinton, Keith, Brendan and Robert have achieved by becoming the first ever remote community utilities workers,” he said.

Fact file

  • Horizon Power has begun an important piece of work to identify future skills required in the business as the energy industry undergoes a significant transformation and there is a shift away from the traditional delivery of energy. This is expected to lead to future training positions.
  • Adult apprenticeship opportunities will soon be available to Pilbara lineworkers. The cable jointing apprenticeships will enable existing lineworkers, who have constructed and maintained overhead networks, to transition their skills to the specific requirements of an undergrounded network.
  • Horizon Power collaborates with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of WA to offer work placements for engineering graduates and is exploring ways to expand this program to engineering undergraduates and students in other fields such as industrial relations.

For more information:  Please contact Wendy Pryer (Horizon Power) on 0409 796 999 or 1800 799 745.


Survey – Technology and Innovation – The Impact on WA Industry and its Workforce

 Purpose of the survey:

Provide information from key stakeholders across WA Industry, in terms of how they see innovation and technology shaping the future workforce needs of their organisation, their industry and the WA economy.

The survey will assist in answering the following questions:

  • How current and emerging innovation and technology advances are changing the nature of work in some of WA’s key industries and in particular, the demand for future skills and jobs; and
  • Appropriate education and training strategies and policy changes, which will ensure that these workforce needs are met in the future.

Who should fill it out?  Industry associations, business leaders, innovation and technology specialists, research institutions and education providers

By when?  26th February 2017

How long will it take to complete?   10 minutes

Link to the survey:




Updates to Traineeships likely soon!

This is preliminary advice that the UEEA will soon be submitting advice to the State Training Board that seeks to address some anomalies with the nominal duration for a number of traineeships in the Electricity Supply, Gas supply and Electrotechnology industry sectors.

The issue was actually raised some time ago under an instruction to review and make recommendations on ‘harmonising’ nominal durations of traineeships.  The UEEA held back on the analysis of the traineeships that used UEE, UEP, UET and UEG qualifications due to expected changes to the training package.  However, it seems the time is right to make some amendments as there are some issues with the current settings.

In short, WA traineeships appear to have significantly shorter durations than in other states.

The changes proposed will largely formalise what already happens.  That is, the relevant Certificate III level qualification is effectively a pre-requisite.   For many traineeships, this will result in the public register noting two distinct timeframes for contracts – one where a pre-requisite is met (the existing shorter timeframe will remain) and one where the trainee has not completed the relevant lower qualification (the harmonised duration).

If you have an interest in any of the following qualifications, please let me know asap:

  • UEE40111 Certificate IV in Computer Systems
  • UEE40611 Certificate IV in Electrotechnology – Systems Electrician
  • UEE40711 Certificate IV in Electronics and Communications
  • UEE40911 Certificate IV in Industrial Electronics and Control
  • UEE41511 Certificate IV in Video and Audio Systems
  • UEE42611 Certificate IV in Hazardous Areas – Electrical
  • UEE42911 Certificate IV in Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning
  • UEE40411 – Certificate IV in Electrical –
  • UEE50111 Diploma of Computer Systems Engineering
  • UEE50411 Diploma of Electrical Engineering
  • UEE50511 Diploma of Electronics and Communications
  • UEE60411 Advanced Diploma of Computer Systems Engineering
  • UEE60211 Advanced Diploma of Electronics and Communications Engineering
  • UEE62211 Advanced Diploma of Electrical – Engineering
  • UET60212 Advanced Diploma of ESI – Power Systems
  • UEP40312 Certificate IV in ESI Generation Maintenance
  • UEP40512 Certificate IV in ESI Generation Maintenance
  • UEP50212 Diploma of ESI Generatoin (Operations)
  • UEP50412 Diploma of ESI Generation Maintenance
  • UEG40114 Certificate IV in Gas Supply Industry Operations
  • UEG50114 Diploma of Gas Supply Industry Operations
  • UEG60115 Advanced Diploma of Gas Supply Industry Operations

Industry Consultant Position Available: Electrical and Utilities


For those that have worked with Trevor over the past few years with EUPA and the UEEA, I know you will be sad to see him go.  He has worked tirelessly in the electrotechnology space and will be missed.  Trevor is completing his final few weeks and will shortly leave us, which opens an exciting opportunity for someone else.

Please feel free to consider the vacancy and/or pass on to others that you know could contribute to our industry sectors.

Please click here to view the advertisement (seek)

CETO6 – Carnegie Wave Energy to build a microgrid

ceto-6-website-headerSource:  ecogeneration:  Wave, solar and storage to power WA island

A $7.5 million project has been approved for the Carnegie Wave4 Energy team on Garden Island.  The micro-grid will include the wave energy company’s latest off-shore generation technology as well as 2MW of solar capacity alongside a 2MW/0.5MWh battery storage system.

On a related note, I also saw something recently about a utility-scale tesla battery system – I think it was in New Zealand, but I could be wrong.  The point is, we are certainly treading into new territory and I can only imagine how quickly battery storage is going to change the shape of the industry.

Back to Carnegie’s project – the great thing about wave energy is that it’s pretty handy for an island!  The trial on Garden Island seeks to prove the suitability of an independent grid that can operate in conjunction with the larger network.

Western Power is actively looking at ‘fringe of grid’ power supply, so this technology may find a place in WA’s future.

So, is all this pie-in-the-sky jibber jabber likely to see any action in the near future.. well YES!  The pilot micro-grid should be operational by mid-2017.  A mere few months away….

SWIS live data – new web location

aemo-data-dashboardThat last post about South Australia had me diving to look at the SWIS, so naturally I went to the IMO website.  Of course, I’m already forgetting that the responsibility for the Wholesale Energy Market (energy delivered through the SWIS) has transferred to the Australian Energy Market Regulator.

Well, if you still want a fascinating live feed of electricity generation and gas transmission lines you will have to look at the AEMO website here.



What happened in SA? The South Australian Power Crisis…

grattan-sa-reportThe Grattan Institute has released a paper titled ‘Keeping the Lights on.  Lessons from South Australia’s power shock‘ providing an overview of the scenario that unfolded in July 2016.

It’s an interesting read with at least a couple of brow-raising moments – approx $9000 per MWh for a 30 minute cycle compared to approx $230!  If you don’t have time to read this document, it does point out the four major causes to the spike in wholesale electricity pricing:

  1.  The wind didn’t blow!  With approximately 40% of generation coming from wind turbines, you’re in trouble if they don’t turn and you have no alternative!
  2. One of the interconnectors (on the NEM) was undergoing maintenance, so they couldn’t import enough energy from another state.
  3. The highest peak occurred between 7-7:30pm – so there was no sun either!  A coal plant had been closed about two months earlier as well which pushed gas and diesel prices higher.
  4. Wholesale gas prices more than doubled, so generation was expensive.

The sector is grappling with such enormous changes.  South Australia’s mix of generation fuel has changed significantly, including the total replacement of coal.  Western Australia is facing significant change – compounded perhaps because we are also isolated from the National Electricity Market.

With elections nearing, environmental pressures building and ageing assets what will be the direction for WA?

Electricity Supply Industry – Generation Draft 4 Year Plan

generation-planAustralian Industry Skills have released the draft 4 year work plan for the ESI Generation sector.   The UEEA would like to hear from you directly should you have any feedback for this process.

Unfortunately, we are not provided with much time and so I ask for your attention at the earliest opportunity.  The UEEA must provide feedback no later than 28 September 2016 (next Wednesday).

Click here for the PDF Draft 4 Year Plan

The plan picks up on the transition of energy sources including the closure of thermal power stations (coal).  Gas is the transitional fuel and there have been new gas generation plants brought online in WA over recent years.  Automation and technology changes are also highlighted.

The workforce size has reduced dramatically over many years, although the national stats are pointing to a levelling out. By all accounts this is a small workforce though.

The plan picks up on the low VET enrolments, which the UEEA has also noted.  Our engagement with the sector indicates that inhouse training is conducted (perhaps aligned to national standards).


Please note that the most immediate action will be the transition of the UEP12 training package to the 2012 standard.  Included in this work will be a review of Certificate IV ESI Generation Maintenance (Fabrication) and Certificate IV in Large Scale Wind Generation (Electrical).

AIS has also proposed the development of a Certificate IV in Remote Area Generation in the following year.  The UEEA will be keen to learn about the application of such a qualification in WA.

The UEEA is keen to reach into this sector as we have also been nominated to represent the national ITAB network on the IRC (along with the Northern Territory).  The ITABs will be rotating representation across all energy IRCs every two years.



Electricity Supply Industry Transmission Distribution and Rail – Draft 4 Year Plan

esi-planAustralian Industry Skills have released the draft 4 year work plan for the Electricity Supply  Industry Transmission Distribution and Rail sector.   The UEEA would like to hear from you directly should you have any feedback for this process.

Unfortunately, we are not provided with much time and so I ask for your attention at the earliest opportunity.  The UEEA must provide feedback no later than 28 September 2016 (next Wednesday).

Click here for the PDF Draft 4 Year Plan

The plan picks up on the enormous infrastructure requirements and in particular, ageing assets, emerging energy sources and restructuring of the industry.  Of course, renewable energy and storage are two issues that are changing the way we consume power.


Please note that the most immediate action will be the transition of the UET12 training package to the new format for training packages.  Further planning has not yet been undertaken as the IRC has not yet been formally formed.

The UEEA understands that our workforce is facing particular pressures due to potential changing skill requirements as distributed energy generation and storage is adopted.   What do you see are the future skills requirements for workers in this sector?  Will occupational roles change?

New Apprenticeship established – Remote Community Utilities Worker

The Minister for Training and Workforce Development has accepted a proposal to establish a Class A Apprenticeship for the qualification of UET30912 Certificate III in ESI – Remote Community Utilities Worker. The Minister’s decision was published in the Government Gazette today.

The gazette (No 167) found here states the following:


The qualification was contentious and the State Training Board has worked with Horizon Power to develop a condition that limits the places where the qualification is delivered.  This is of course very unusual, but there were significant concerns about the safety of those employed to be linesworkers in areas that are not ‘very remote’.   At it’s heart, the definition below (and that used in the Training Package) comes from the Accessbility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA).  It’s been an interesting exercise to explore all options…  The exact wording arrived at by the STB is as follows:

CONDITION: This apprenticeship applies to the construction, inspection, repair and maintenance of essential public utilities (generation and network assets) in a ‘very remote community’. Work must be carried out in a non-energised (dead) environment other than for testing purposes. Prior to the commencement of work, all electrical apparatus is to be isolated. That is for High Voltage (shortcircuited and earthed) and for Low Voltage (short-circuited to the neutral).

‘Very remote community’ is defined in terms of limited and/or long distance access along the road
network and very limited accessibility to obtain goods, services and opportunities for social
interaction within the Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS) Statistical Area Level 3
(SA3) locations—

  • 50804 Kimberley (excluding the towns of Broome, Derby, Fitzroy Crossing, Halls Creek,
    Kununurra, Wyndham and mine sites);
  • 50806 Pilbara (excluding the towns/cities of Onslow, Dampier, Karratha, Newman,
    Paraburdoo, Port Hedland, Roebourne, South Hedland, Tom Price, Wickham and mine sites);
  • 50802 Gascoyne (excluding the towns of Carnarvon, Exmouth and mine sites);
  • 50805 Mid West (excluding the towns of Dongara, Geraldton, Greenough, Jurien, Kalbarri,
    Meekatharra, Mt Magnet, Morawa, Northampton, Port Denison, and mine sites);
  • 50803 Goldfields (excluding the towns/cities of Boulder, Kalgoorlie, Kambalda, Leinster,
    Leonora, Norseman and mine sites);
  • 50801 Esperance (excluding the town of Esperance and mine sites).

    It excludes SA4 locations: 501 Bunbury; 502 Mandurah; 503 Perth-Inner; 504 Perth-North East; 505
    Perth North West; 506 Perth-South East; 507 Perth-South West; and 509 Western Australia—