CIRCUIT BREAKER: TAFE NSW Leeton electrotechnology teacher Rod Chant shows student Emily Ashe the finer points of the profession.
The changing face of the electrical trades and the continued strength of some of the region’s largest companies has “sparked” an enrolment boom at TAFE NSW Leeton.
TAFE NSW Leeton Electrical Teacher Rod Chant said an increasing reliance on technology in the irrigation industry, coupled with significant local employers like Casella Wines and Baiada, meant the demand for “sparkies” was surging.
It comes as the latest industry figures, released by National Industry Insights, revealed the Australian electrotechnology industry generated more than $85 billion annually and employed about 340,000 people.
“It’s such an exciting time to be an electrician and it’s a gateway to a lucrative career where you can work anywhere in the world,” Mr Chant said.
“It’s common for a qualified electrician to be earning six figures.
“It’s an industry where you can get almost guaranteed employment and I have organisations ringing me regularly asking if I know of a good apprentice or qualified electrician.”
Mr Chant said the steady rise in the region of wine giants Casella, De Bortoli, McWilliam’s and others was driving demand, while poultry processor Baiada, which processes 1.2 million chickens a week locally, and companies like Summertime Juice and Flavourtech were also employing electricians.
“The increasing automation of the irrigation industry is also a huge factor,” he said.
“There are so many electricians employed locally to wire up and look after pumps and irrigation systems. Things like solar and communications are also now part of the job.”
Flavourtech senior project manager Andrew Menegazzo, whose company has three electrical apprentices at TAFE NSW Leeton, said the training offered by TAFE NSW was critical in helping the company meet market demand.
“Flavourtech has been utilising the services of TAFE NSW for nearly 25 years,” Mr Menegazzo said.
“We have a close relationship with the teachers at TAFE NSW Leeton campus and they are in frequent contact with us to provide updates and ask us for our feedback.
“Without TAFE NSW Leeton campus, Flavourtech’s electrical divisions would not have the skilled and experienced electrical tradesman to allow us to provide our solutions to customers globally.”
Flavourtech is a global technology manufacturer, specialising in aroma recovery, extraction and evaporation solutions for the food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries.
TAFE NSW Leeton student and electrical apprentice Ewan Morriss, 21, experienced a taste of the trade when he did a TVET course at TAFE NSW while in year 11.
He has since gone on to secure an apprentice with Tyndall Electrical in Griffith and said he was confident of a long career in the industry.
“It’s always appealed to me and can be really satisfying when you finish a job. After all, you’re literally putting light in people’s lives,” Mr Morriss said.
“The teaching at TAFE NSW is brilliant and a great mix between theory and practical.”
To find out more about studying electrotechnology at TAFE NSW, phone 13 16 01 or visit www.tafensw.edu.au.
Media contact: Daniel Johns, TAFE NSW Media and Communications – Business Partner, 6938 1441, mobile 0477 722 428.