NECA to train ‘green electricians’

Thursday, 14 December, 2006

The National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA) has won a tender from Sustainability Victoria to train licensed electricians nationally in energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly electrical products, technology and installations.

Phillip Green, chief executive officer of NECA Victoria, said the new training and accreditation program was a necessary step forward in meeting a rapidly growing need as a result of the rising demand for energy-efficient products and technology in both the consumer and commercial markets.

"There is certainly a growing awareness in the community about climate change and the factors that contribute to it," Green said.

"We recognised there is a market starting to develop; however, most contractors do not currently have the skills or the knowledge to be able to offer a viable market solution. We realised the time was right for training electricians in how to be more environmentally aware."

An advisory committee, consisting of representatives of NECA, the National Framework for Energy Efficiency, industry partners, the community and the training sector, will design the program, which will fall under the brand EcoSmart Electricians.

Emphasis will be given to understanding the need for energy efficiency, the current legislation and codes of practice applying to each area, market factors that will impact on energy use and how sectors such as residential, industrial and commercial have different market drivers.

The program, which will be offered free to contractors, will be piloted in Melbourne and Sydney with up to 50 electricians then rolled out nationally in metropolitan and regional centres during 2007, with an expected 1000 electrical contractors and their staff trained in the first year.

I will cover technology options, product awareness, reference materials and marketing tools to assist contractors to provide information to customers, such as advice about pay-back periods.

"Courses will be provided at no cost to participants and at times that will not impact on available working hours," said Green.

Initially, the program will provide four modules with one mandatory module and three optional modules, and accreditation will be for a maximum two-year period.

"The aim is to encourage participants to complete all modules without making it compulsory, yet provide consumers with a safety net that allows only a licensed electrician to provide advice under the accreditation banner," said Green.

"In the long term, it is hoped the course will also be delivered by a range of registered training organisations throughout the country."

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