WA leading the charge in the battery value chain!

A research collaboration involving the WA State Government, South Metropolitan TAFE and the Future Battery Industries Cooperative Research Centre (FBICRC) is working to give Western Australia and Australia a competitive edge in the growing battery value chain, which could contribute up to $7.4 billion to Australia’s economy and create 34,700 jobs by 2030. With demand for batteries forecast to accelerate up to 10-fold over the next decade, the collaboration has identified vocational workforce development opportunities to maximise Australia’s share of the potential benefits.

An Australian-first plan, funded and launched by the FBICRC today, reviews the extent to which national training package qualifications cover the vocational skills and knowledge needed in Australia’s future battery industries. The findings will help guide Australia’s vocational training for future battery industries — including at WA TAFEs which already provide resources, electrical and mechanical industry training. The report found current training package qualifications are well suited for most skills needed by future battery industries, but identified some areas of future need as the changeover to battery energy systems grows. These needs include:

  • skills to use and maintain systems involving automation,
  • artificial intelligence and big data;
  • workers with both electrical and mechanical skills;
  • first responders, electricians and mechanics trained in electric vehicles and battery energy systems; and
  • new skills for recycling facility workers in the safe handling of lithium-ion batteries.

It also identified the potential for current TAFE courses to be customised to meet emerging and growing needs, including in battery minerals refining activities. The new plan: The Australian future battery industries: Vocational skills gap assessment and workforce development plan is available on the FBICRC website.

View the plan at fbicrc.com.au/publications

A key partner in the research collaboration, SM TAFE already works closely with BHP’s Nickel West, providing training for workers at its nickel sulphate plant. SM TAFE also trains electricians in battery energy storage systems installation, applied engineering, and in light automotive (mechanics) to de-power and initialise electric vehicles. The SM TAFE campus located at Munster in the Kwinana Industrial Area and Western Trade Coast precinct means the college is well placed to assist companies moving into battery minerals refining and chemical production to skill and reskill workers for future jobs.

North Metropolitan TAFE is training Western Power and Horizon workers in the installation and maintenance of standalone power systems; and is moving into training for the maintenance and management of network battery, wind and solar power. NM TAFE is also training mining workers in minerals extraction, both relevant to the mining and processing of battery minerals.

“Western Australia’s training system is leading a charge to prepare for a battery-led future.“ says Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery. "Today’s report is Australia’s first comprehensive look at vocational education and training needs for future battery industries. The report will help TAFEs and private training providers remain responsive to growing battery industry innovation and demand.”

Energy Minister Bill Johnston said “Western Australia’s training system is well-placed to help Australia progress to the next step of the battery value chain, which is minerals refining. “As a resources rich state, the battery value chain brings opportunities ripe for the taking for Western Australia’s economy, businesses, jobseekers and environment will benefit.”

Read the full media statement here

Page last updated October 07, 2022