The future of the electricity distribution industry in Queensland is secure with 102 apprentices starting their careers with Energex and Ergon Energy over the next month.
Assistant Minister of State and Member for Ipswich Jennifer Howard, representing the Acting Energy Minister, welcomed 34 Energex apprentices undertaking their initial training at the EsiTrain facility in Rocklea before being based at 14 depots across south-east Queensland.
Ms Howard said they joined 17 apprentices from Energex’s mid-year intake and a further 68 apprentices who will soon work from 32 Ergon depots across regional and rural Queensland.
“The Palaszczuk Government continues to create jobs for Queenslanders. These newcomers have been recruited to some of the most keenly sought apprenticeships on offer in Queensland.
“An apprenticeship with Energex is more than a 9-to-5, Monday-to-Friday job. It is a commitment to the community and the start of a career,” Ms Howard said.
Among those commencing a promising career is former Beaudesert State High School student Ashley Lewis.
After completing his initial training at the EsiTrain centre and Gold Coast TAFE, the 17-year-old Jimboomba resident will be stationed at the Beaudesert depot.
The hands-on learner said it was killing him being in the classroom and he couldn’t wait to get on the tools in the months ahead.
In his role as an electronic fitter mechanic, he will be responsible for maintaining the existing network of power lines and repairing it when need be.
He said he was looking forward to serving the community and ensuring everyone had power long into the future for everyday basics like boiling the kettle and watching television.
Mr Lewis secured the position ahead of more than 100 other candidates after undergoing a rigorous vetting process, which included comprehensive assessment of mathematical and scientific knowledge during a formal written examination.
He said he did not plan to pursue a career as a sparky but jumped at the opportunity when it landed in his email inbox via a school email.
“I had friends who worked at Energex and they said they were looked after really well,” Mr Lewis said.
“I thought this seems like a pretty good gig and I applied.”
Acting Energy Minister Mark Furner said the skills learned by the cohort would help ensure Queensland continued to enjoy a world-class, safe and reliable electricity supply.
“They will become part of the crews keeping the lights on, often working in challenging conditions to restore power after storms and cyclones.”
Mr Furner said 25 female apprentices would be inducted into what has traditionally been a male-dominated industry.
“The intake also includes 10 candidates identifying as being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island descent.
“The new apprentices will train as communications technicians, distribution linespersons, transmission linespersons, mechanical fitters, electricians or underground cable jointers.
Energy Queensland Chief Executive David Smales said a significant change of approach in South East Queensland this year resulted in apprentices being based at 14 depots (including Raceview in Ms Howard’s electorate) , rather than at just six regional hubs and then being rotated around the smaller depots.
““This fits in well with our philosophy of offering most apprenticeships to local people so they can develop their skills while remaining in the community with their family and friends,” he said.
“As a result, we have recruited apprentices for our Gympie, Cooroy, Landsborough, Caboolture, Victoria Park, Cleveland, Beaudesert and Berrinba depots, in addition to the Maroochydore, Geebung, Kelvin Grove, Greenslopes, Raceview and Southport depots.”