Bright future for women in solar

Monday, 04 March, 2024

Bright future for women in solar

Brighte, an Australian financial institution specialising in renewable energy plans, has announced the two recipients of its Women in Energy Scholarships in Tasmania. Brighte is the exclusive administrator of the $50m Energy Saver Loan Scheme (ESLS).

This year the scholarships have been awarded to Chey Sullivan, a NECA Education & Careers apprentice who is hosted to Contact Group, and Erin Kingston, from Derwent Electrical.

The Brighte Women in Energy Scholarships are an extension of Brighte’s partnership with the Tasmanian Government and are aimed at supporting the growing local green energy sector while also boosting women in the industry.

“To meet our ambitious net zero targets, we’re going to need thousands of electricians skilled up to help power the green revolution — and many of those must be women,” said Brighte Founder and CEO Katherine McConnell.

Valued at $3350, each scholarship includes assistance with the costs of the training course and funding for the first year of the Clean Energy Council’s accredited solar installer fees. Recipients must be apprentices with a proven commitment to studying and to furthering their knowledge of renewable energy.

“Studying a course in renewable energy was always something that I wanted to pursue,” Sullivan said.

“With government mandates and procedures moving toward a cleaner, greener state, I think new energy jobs represent an opportunity to be at the forefront of some of technology’s most exciting advancements.”

TasTAFE CEO Grant Dreher said TasTAFE was proud to support the Brighte Women in Energy Scholarships and their promotion of renewables.

“We are starting to see more women taking up apprenticeships in traditional trades, but there is still work to do. We are working with industry and businesses such as Brighte to proactively encourage more women into trades,” he said.

During her announcement of the successful award recipients, McConnell made reference to the recent Senate Inquiry into Residential Electrification where Electrical Trades Union workers’ rights director Katie Hepworth noted that Australia would need 32,000 additional electricians by 2030 to meet its renewable energy target — and further, that only 2% of electricians today are women.

“With our extensive network of vendors both in Tasmania and nationally, we want to use our influence to encourage more women to join the industry and to be part of this transformative growth story,” McConnell said.

Image caption: Erin Kingston (left) and Chey Sullivan (centre) with Brighte Founder and CEO Katherine McConnell.

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