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EV festival shapes tomorrow’s clean energy leaders


Almost 1,000 students gained practical experience and knowledge of the clean energy sector at Career Links’ Hunter Valley EV Festival this week.

Primary and high school pupils from throughout the region converged on TAFE NSW Newcastle for the 11th edition of the event, which aims to enhance their interest in a variety of subjects, primarily transportation.

But, best of all, it tasks the youngsters with designing, constructing and racing a mini solar-powered car.

In 2023, the EV Festival also expanded its horizons by introducing the challenge of building boats to race in a 10-metre pool.

With the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water projecting more than 60,000 clean energy roles emerging in Australia by 2025, and with the federal government’s recent announcement of Australia’s second offshore wind zone in Newcastle and Port Stephens, the Hunter stands at the forefront of the “green revolution”.

So, the festival’s projects serve as a valuable learning platform for the students, enhancing skills in engineering, solar technology, innovation, teamwork and entrepreneurship.

The event provides guided tours of TAFE NSW renewable energy and aviation facilities, too.

TAFE NSW Newcastle’s director of infrastructure, energy and construction Jason Herbohn hailed its success.

“Events like the Hunter Valley EV Festival are a fantastic opportunity to ignite young people’s interest in forging a career in clean energy,” he said.

“Reaching Australia’s net-zero emissions target by 2050 means we need to equip our workforce with the skills and experience required to meet this ambition.

“Through hands-on activities like building the solar-powered cars and boats, we hope to inspire the next generation to pursue a career in clean energy and generate a strong graduate pipeline.

“Australia’s transition opens significant career opportunities.

“Studying a TAFE NSW course in renewable energy gives pupils access to a booming industry, and a comprehensive understanding of the current and emerging renewable energy technologies and principles that drive a sustainable economy.

“Hopefully in the next few years, the students here [today] will be in TAFE NSW classrooms learning about areas like wind energy conversion systems, energy storage systems and electrical engineering.”

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