In 2023, The ISS Institute announced the first VET Australian Sustainability Fellowship proudly sponsored by the VET Development Centre (VDC).
As an education provider, the VDC can influence educators and ultimately their students on the importance of sustainability in any vocation, as CEO Martin Powell mentioned in a previous blog post with The ISS Institute.
It’s with great pleasure The ISS Institute and the VDC announce Peter Schreiner from TAFE NSW as the first Fellow to take part in this Fellowship.
Peter works alongside 18 other Industry Innovation Specialists, who collectively cover a diverse range of interconnected industry sectors. In Peter’s role, he focuses primarily on Engineering, Advanced Manufacturing, Medtech, Industry 4.0 and Aerospace.
The industry innovation specialists liaise with various industries and explore new methods of workforce development. Peter’s role synthesises industry perspectives in the inception, design, and implementation of micro-credentials and micro-skills at TAFE NSW for engineering programs and other aligned sectors.
The past 12 months has seen increasing development of renewable energy skills, promoting circular economy and sustainability. This broad field encompasses fields like electricity, electro technology, mechanical systems, automation, and energy storage, which align with his background expertise.
Being situated in the Hunter Valley also lends itself to the relevance of the Fellowship considering the region already has an established energy sector. This region is currently undergoing an energy transition with the impending closure of the Liddell and Eraring coal-fired power stations. Recently, the federal government announced that the Hunter and surrounding regions as the home for off-shore wind energy as a new and renewable source.
Part of why Peter has chosen energy storage was because he was contacted by the Commonwealth government around the national battery strategy, which is identified as a ‘critical technology’.
As Minister for Industry and Science Ed Husic said in a recent media release, "large scale uptake and manufacture of batteries will be vital transitioning to net-zero. New battery capacity will help support grid scale capacity, power our homes, and electrify our transport sector."
There are also a number of energy storage manufacturers who have / are setting up nationally, including The Hunter where, Energy Renaissance, Ampcontrol, 3ME Technology, Allegro Energy (Origin Energy recently acquired a 5% stake) are established.
Peter will research what technologies are being innovated at an international level and then report on where it can evolve in Australia. The Sustainability Fellowship will identify the leading technologies and job roles, along with associated knowledge and skills.
In terms of skilling the nation on renewables, Peter believes there are two cohorts: people currently in the industry who need to update their skills and new workers coming in. Micro-credentials are an agile approach for existing workers to adapt to evolving industry needs. These can evolve into accredited courses in the future for the next generation of energy workers.
“We are in the midst of a great transition from traditional energy sources to renewables. At present, the easiest way to produce energy is through our plentiful reserves of black coal and brown coal. A great deal of investment is needed along with a skilled work force to realise our carbon reduction targets. This will require a strategic approach to transitioning the skills of our energy workers.”
“I am delighted be awarded this this inaugural Sustainability Fellowship by the VDC and ISS Institute and thankful to them for the opportunity to broaden the capability of the VET sector and industry in this area over the next 12 months of my fellowship and well beyond.”
Learn more about the Australian VET Sustainability Fellowship here.
photo credit: Narcisa Aciko