Training and jobs boost for Pilbara energy workers

Horizon Power has boosted job prospects in regional Western Australia through training and upskilling opportunities to ensure the electricity network to the north of the state continues to be maintained and serviced by local workers.

Seven existing Horizon Power employees are now qualified with dual trades having successfully completed a Certificate III Electricity Supply Industry (Cable Jointing) qualification.

They will be responsible for maintenance and repair of key electricity infrastructure, including the recently completed underground power networks in Karratha and Port Hedland.

Horizon Power acting chief executive officer Mike Houlahan said the training and upskilling of the workforce is reflective of changes across the energy industry and Horizon Power’s commitment to its people.

Manager Pilbara Grid James Carney said the dual tradespeople in Horizon Power’s Pilbara team would begin a new training program next year to gain further skills and qualifications required to work on the transmission network.and also to connect utility-scale renewables to the network.

“As a result of undergrounding the distribution lines in the Pilbara network, about 70 per cent of the work is now focused on transmission – the high voltage lines that connect to the substations,” he said.

“The next step in the training program for these employees is for training to become electrical fitters, or electricians, because of the instrumentation work involved with the underground network and the impending connection of utility scale batteries to our Pilbara network.”

Premier Mark McGowan, Energy Minister Ben Wyatt, Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery and Pilbara MLA Kevin Michel toured the Port Hedland electricity depot and met with Horizon Power’s newest recruits and apprentices while in the Pilbara for the McGowan Labor Government’s regional Community Cabinet.

“My government’s number one priority is to provide jobs and opportunities to Western Australians,” Premier McGowan said.

“The upskilling of regional workers enables them to be more equipped to take on the jobs of the future and is essential in keeping jobs in regional WA.”

The training opportunities have been further bolstered with four more distribution workers being taken on in the Pilbara region, and an extra 12 Horizon Power positions being created in other regional towns across the State including Port Hedland, Karratha, Carnarvon, Esperance, Broome and Kununurra.

“The state government is committed to ensuring regional workers are given opportunities to retrain and upskill to meet the needs of the energy sector, which is a dynamic and changing industry,” WA Energy Minister Ben Wyatt said.