Horizon Power boosting jobs in regional Western Australia
Regional Western Australia is benefiting from the creation of new jobs and the upskilling of existing employees with energy provider Horizon Power.
Seven Pilbara employees were thrilled to meet Premier Mark McGowan, Energy Minister Ben Wyatt and Pilbara MLA Kevin Michel in Port Hedland today to discuss their recently completed adult apprenticeships and new jobs.
The Horizon Power employees are already qualified distribution workers, who are skilled to construct, maintain, and repair overhead electricity networks. They now have the skills to maintain the undergrounded network.
The newly qualified distribution/cable jointing dual tradespeople are: from Port Hedland, Hedley McManus, Sani Dube and Todd Benthien and from Karratha, Don Nesbitt, Luke Plant, Glenn Bennett and Craig Gilpin.
They have been joined in their depots by new recruits, distribution worker Steve Brown, in Karratha, and, in Port Hedland, distribution workers Craig Marley, Stephen Gooding and David Maguta, who is also an electrician.
New positions have also been created in regional Western Australia by Horizon Power outside the Pilbara. The new recruits are distribution workers in the regional towns of Broome, Kununurra, Carnarvon and Esperance, with one of the Esperance recruits finishing his distribution worker apprenticeship.
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 sub-stations.
“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.
Batteries will be connected to the network so that in the event of a fault on the network, there is enough energy stored in the battery to try and prevent any interruption to our customers’ power supplies.
Horizon Power is also planning for the installation of a solar farm in the town of Onslow and electrical skills are required for the installation of solar and battery on to the network.
“We strongly believe in retaining and upskilling our employees to be able to provide job opportunities in the new energy industry. There is so much change going on in the energy sector with the growing shift to focus on renewables, as well as competition opening up in the Pilbara, and our workforce will be ready to meet these challenges,” Mr Carney.
About Horizon Power
Horizon Power is a Government Trading Enterprise which generates, distributes and retails electricity to more than 48,000 connections in regional and remote Western Australia.
The utility’s service area is vast – approximately 2.3 million square kilometres – which means Horizon Power services the biggest area with the least amount of customers in the world. For every 50 square kilometres of terrain, there is just one customer.
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