New training centre to help locals break into LNG industry

Skills and Training Minister Brendan O'Connor announces a new $21 million energy training centre at the Gladstone campus of the Central Queensland Institute of TAFE.
Skills and Training Minister Brendan O'Connor announces a new $21 million energy training centre at the Gladstone campus of the Central Queensland Institute of TAFE. Brenda Strong

OPPORTUNITIES for locals to break into the LNG industry are set to boom with a $21 million energy training centre at the Central Queensland Institute of TAFE Gladstone campus.

At the launch of the centre on Tuesday, Skills and Training Minister Brendan O'Connor said the project had been designed to respond to regional demand for skills, particularly the $60 billion worth of coal seam gas to liquefied natural gas projects around Gladstone.

"The centre will mean industry will be able to employ local graduates with job-ready skills, who have learnt in a highly practical environment," he said.

"It's important for people in the communities to get the opportunities where the investment is happening."

Mr O'Connor said the centre would give students a chance to train in a safe, virtual environment before progressing to live equipment.

"The merger of CQIT and Central Queensland University will offer central Queenslanders a full range of courses, from Certificate I through to PhDs," he said.

He wasn't sure when construction would begin.

The announcement follows the Australia Petroleum Production and Exploration Association's new campaign, which claims resource companies are struggling to do business in Australia.

Mr O'Connor said the government was always looking at streamlining processes and reducing red tape.

The Federal Government has contributed $16.6 million towards the centre, with another $4m from the Queensland Government.

The new facility is set to offer 140 additional training places for locals and 67 new jobs during the construction phase.

Second year apprentice Ian Pinner can*t wait to expand his skills at the new energy training centre. Photo Brenda Strong / The Observer
Second year apprentice Ian Pinner can*t wait to expand his skills at the new energy training centre. Photo Brenda Strong / The Observer Brenda Strong

Centre provides great opportunity for students

STUDENTS in Gladstone will jump at the chance to be trained up in the gas industry, according to a local apprentice at Central Queensland Institute of TAFE.

Electrical and instrumentation technician apprentice Ian Pinner works at NRG but wants to be part of the booming gas industry.

And he knows loads of people in town who feel the same way.

"The more I hear about it, the more I want to be involved," he said.

"I really want to learn more about the industry and I know a lot of people in my course who would be interested too."

Skills and Training Minister Brendan O'Connor said the centre would be one of a kind in the southern hemisphere and would stop the need for trainees and apprentices to travel as far as Western Australia to acquire  necessary skills.

"It sounds really exciting. I have a young family so it's a great opportunity," Mr Pinner said.

The centre is set to include two classrooms and a simulation facility to enable a work-like experience.

There will also be a focus on recognised prior learning.

In the second year of his apprenticeship, the 30-year-old said he would definitely come back to study at the new centre.

"There will be a lot of transferable skills with my current apprenticeship," he said.

Topics:  brendan o'connor, lng, resources, training

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