The first women have graduated from solar apprenticeships as part of the Governments suite of measures to address gender inequality in the sector – where women currently make up less than one per cent of the clean energy work force.
The subsidised apprenticeships are part of the Governments $11 million Growing Our Clean Energy Workforce Training and Workforce Development package, which is working to meet future industry demand through diversification and maintain Victoria's reputation as the national leader in solar safety standards.
Victorian solar installers have just six more months to receive the Governments subsidy to pay half the salary of a female apprentice for two years, in addition to providing apprentices a tool allowance and six-monthly incentive payments.
Businesses like Total Solar Solutions are already benefiting from the program, employing two female apprentices who received subsidised training.
The Governments flagship $1.3 billion Solar Homes Program, launched in 2018, will support 5,500 clean energy jobs.
In addition to targeted support to increase the participation of women, the Growing Our Clean Energy Workforce package offer fully or partially subsidised programs to upskill women and men already working in clean energy.
The has helped more than 205,000 Victorian households install solar panels, solar batteries and solar hot water since 2018. A further 25,000 Victorians have reduced their carbon footprint through rebates for heating and cooling upgrades, zero emissions vehicles and solar for business.
Quote attributable to solar electrical apprentice Madeline Ward, 18
“I didn't think I would be able to get a (solar) apprenticeship, because I'm a woman but everyone has made it easy and enjoyable. I would say to other women to give it a go. You might be surprised how much you really like it.”
Quote attributable to Christine Kennedy, Owner, Total Solar Solutions, employer of two women apprentices
“I see great value in diversity within our industry and by adding more women, it creates better teams, and it creates better collaboration.”
Reviewed 26 October 2022