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Horizon Power joins forces to upskill for WA’s renewable energy future

  • Five Horizon Power employees from Esperance, Port Hedland and Karratha are participating in an energy industry first training program for maintenance of solar and battery systems and transmission assets.
  • In total 12 energy industry workers from Horizon Power and Western Power will be upskilled through the new electrical fitter training course.

The cleaner, greener delivery of electricity to customers across the State is leading to the development of a new skill base in the energy industry.

A recent investment by the State Government in a unique training program has given 12 energy industry employees the opportunity to learn electrical fitting skills in what is a training first for the State’s energy utilities.

The introduction of this new course gives the five Horizon Power employees, and seven from Western Power,  a deeper and broader skill set and career growth pathway so they can continue to service the changing electrical landscape in WA.

The five Horizon Power employees undertaking the pilot program to become trade qualified electrical fitters are Esperance-based power workers; Bradley Minchin, Paul Berk and Shane Spengler, Port Hedland Advanced Power Worker Hedley McManus and Karratha Crew Leader Craig Gilpin.

Once qualified, the Horizon Power employees will be able to operate, maintain and repair stand-alone power systems (SPS) recently installed in Esperance, which combine solar, battery and diesel generation, and Pilbara employees will be able to undertake operational, maintenance and repair work on the NWIS Transmission Terminal Yards and Distribution Substations in the Pilbara, as well as the renewable assets in Onslow.

Horizon Power’s Chief Executive Officer Stephanie Unwin said the development of the training program provides career pathways for energy industry employees to continue to service the changing electrical landscape and was a first for Horizon Power. 

“We have worked with our industry counterparts and leaders in training development at TAFE and the training council to develop this pilot training program, ensuring jobs remain in regional communities and our people are equipped to meet their demands of the renewable energy future,” Stephanie Unwin said.

Energy Minister Bill Johnston, who joined Education Minister Sue Ellery at North Metropolitan TAFE East Perth campus yesterday to meet the apprentices said: “The State Government is committed to a renewable energy future as part of its energy transformation strategy, reducing our carbon footprint and diversifying the State’s economy and skills base.”

Horizon Power employees Craig Gilpin from Karratha, Hedley McManus from Port Hedland and Bradley Minchin, Paul Berk and Shane Spengler from Esperance are excited to be part of the renewable energy future.

“I have a real interest in renewables and alternative ways of providing energy so being able to do this training provides me with more variety in the work that I do and that gives me a renewed interest in my job.” – Bradley Minchin.

“The Electrical Fitter program is exciting because at Horizon Power we are at the forefront of the new technology, with the work we’re doing in Onslow being a case study for the fast moving renewables.” – Craig Gilpin.

“Being part of this training program opens up possibilities in multiple areas of the business and hopefully aligns better with my passion of cable testing and fault location work.” – Hedley McManus.

“I feel grateful and also a sense of pride being one of the guys chosen for the Electrical Fitter pilot program. I look forward to gaining new skills to access and work on and maintaining SPS assets.” – Paul Berk.

“To be at the forefront of such a rapidly progressing industry gives me a great deal of pride. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity and very excited about my role within the industry going forward.” – Shane Spengler.

The training program is a collaboration between Horizon Power, Western Power, NMTAFE and the WA Utilities, Engineering, Electrical and Automotive Training Council and will take participants approximately 18 months to complete.