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Renewable Energies Industry Immersion


From coal to clean - creating a prac-based Industry Immersion that enables students to try, test and talk pipeline opportunities with the Renewables Energy Sector.


A thriving renewable energy ecosystem is critical to Victoria’s transition from coal-fired power to a clean economy.

As Australia navigates the complex transition from fossil fuels to a clean economy, debate about strategies and solutions continues to dominate the conversations. The Victorian Government is spearheading critical renewables infrastructure investment, planning and delivery of major projects that will provide clean and affordable energy. It is highly complex and collaborative work. Key factors include investment in technology, innovation, education, and strategic workforce development.

Meanwhile, Generation Z is comfortable with renewable and sustainability concepts and is keen to contribute their curiosity, intellect and passion to these complex challenges. The Vocational Education Training (VET) subject in Electrotechnology is an extremely popular subject for MTS catchment schools, with two units within the qualification that focus on renewables. Students are also studying VCE major subjects that explore sustainability issues.

Whilst VET enrolments are healthy, there has been limited opportunity to directly link students interested in renewables with Industry leaders. Without practical placement opportunities, students are being asked to commit to a pathway without knowledge of what the opportunities are and where to find them.

There are multiple organisations attempting to build the talent pipeline, and they are tackling massive workforce development challenges. We simply do not have enough people to meet the industry projections. The SEC alone aims to create over 59,000 job opportunities for Victorians, including 6,000 traineeships and apprenticeships by 2035.

Industry is struggling to engage with young people at the right time – traditionally, the sweet spots are prior to Senior School subject selections and VTAC applications. Students make decisions that either allow them to continue their capacity to explore a renewable pathway or lock them out. For multiple reasons, it can be extremely difficult for students to access work experience or Structured Workplace Learning placements that provide an opportunity to really explore occupations and sectors working in the transition to a clean economy. Pipeline development needs to start now, but with multiple industries competing for Gen Z applicants, renewables need to be unpacked in a clear and meaningful way.

In November 2023, Monash Tech School launched the pilot of our Renewable Energies Industry Immersion in partnership with Holmesglen Institute’s Renewable Energy Centre of Excellence. Leveraging the Centre of Excellence’s technology was important, but the additional value was found in the number of conversations students had with Holmesglen trainers, whose wealth of industry experience is immeasurable.

It was critical to have key industry support on the day. It was also important to have a resource that verified students’ participation in hands-on activities, captured their interest in the pathways and summarised insights into the skills and attributes required.

The Skills and Pathways segment hosted a panel of industry stakeholders who have a vested interest in developing the future workforce pipeline and will implement the transition process. The Clean Energy Council, Vestas Australian Wind Technologies and SEC Victoria were our valued industry partners and supported the day with in-kind support.


The day saw students explore various aspects of the Renewable Energy Industry through bespoke designed hands-on activities led by Holmesglen staff. Attending students were engaged because they self-selected to participate and/or they were studying a subject that closely aligned with the renewable energy sector.

The solar-focused rotation saw students discover the steps involved in installing solar panels to a roof by working as a team to line up and secure panels to a roof frame. Students worked together to place the panels on the frame and drill them into place with bracket mechanisms. Electrical wiring was also explored through students working through techniques to construct an electrical wiring circuit.

Students also focused on electrical welding techniques using visual training aids such as the simulated welding machine. Simulated welding brought out the competitive side of the students attending, as the system rated them on their technique and accuracy. Alongside the welding, students were introduced to fundamental fabrication techniques by using folding equipment to construct a steel phone holder to take home with them.

Following their practical experiences earlier in the day, students took part in a panel Q&A session with Senior industry representatives from the SEC Victoria, Vestas Australian Wind Technology, and Clean Energy Council. The professionals answered student questions about pressing climate issues, their organisations, and the renewable energy sector. Using Poll EV, the questions were coming thick and fast. Students were so engaged that we ran out of time to answer every question. What this tells us is that students may not feel confident to put up their hand in a professional auditorium environment, but they will use technology to ask high-level Industry professionals probing and insightful questions.

Students received a Monash Tech School digital badge co-branded alongside Holmesglen, SEC Victoria and Vestas Australian Wind Technology. This was no easy process, with MTS negotiating with five separate Comms Departments to secure approval for a co-branding venture. What this tells us is that industry can see the value in recognising early career exploration for students undertaking Industry Immersion activities and can see it contributing to pipeline development.

The badge verified the human and applied skills students had discovered and built throughout their day. The badge is an important resource, as it is tangible evidence of students’ participation in a sector with limited opportunity to source work placement experience. For a would-be employer, the badge demonstrates an early interest in the sector. For young people applying for an Apprenticeship or Grad program opportunity, it will continue to be the point of difference between themselves and the broader pool of candidates.


The pilot was a great success and saw students thoroughly engaged in various activities that extended their knowledge of careers and pathways in the renewable energy sector. Students relished the opportunity to talk with Holmesglen expert trainers, complete hands-on activities and hear about the transformation of the mainstream energy sector, through the TAFE lens.

The Careers and Pathways session allowed students to ask some really gritty questions, with industry panellists providing strategic, workforce development and technical context to the practical activities offered in the morning rotations.

From a workforce development perspective, the industry had access to 46 young people who already self-identified as engaged, interested and ready to explore opportunities in the sector - with 95% of students reporting they learnt something new.

Phase 2 of the program will be offered in April 2024.


students registered


POLL EV questions asked


industry partners

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