This year, GSES has had the pleasure of working with the not-for-profit organisation, Hi Neighbour, to provide subsidised solar accreditation courses to workers in high carbon industries. Hi Neighbour was started by actress Yael Stone, who wanted to create positive climate action in response to the devastation of the Australian bushfires in 2019-2020.
What does Hi Neighbour do?
The Hi Neighbour model helps local businesses reduce their carbon emissions by providing loans to finance rooftop solar. The interest from the loan then goes into funding training scholarships for locals in coal regions to move into low carbon jobs in a series of scholarship rounds. In order to reach our net zero 2050 target, Australia needs an additional 2 million workers in the renewable energy industry, so the work that Hi Neighbour is doing to assist this transition is imperative.
Hi Neighbour also focuses on empowering women in renewables, with 2 of the scholarship students of this round being women. Women are still severely underrepresented in the industry, currently only making up 5% of trades roles in solar.
What role is GSES playing?
We are very honoured and excited to be partnering with Hi Neighbor for their first round: The ‘Electrify Everything’ Scholarship. This round has chosen 10 electricians in the Illawarra region currently working in mining, to help them upskill and meet the growing demand for low carbon jobs. The scholarship students have been enrolled in GSES’s design and install accreditation courses (9 students in the Grid-Connected PV Systems course and 1 student in our Battery Systems course) as a pathway to upskill in the solar sector and become CEC accredited solar installers.
Hear from one of our scholarship students
We had a chat to Nathan Roberts, a scholarship student from the first round, to see how our training is empowering his transition into a solar role.
Nathan has been an electrician in the mining industry for years, however has always had an interest in renewable energy. Acknowledging that, ‘mining won’t last forever’, Nathan saw the scholarship as a great opportunity to get upskilled and trained in small-scale renewables. He is currently enrolled in the Grid-Connected PV Systems course, and has really enjoyed the structured learning that the course provides.
Nathan sees the course as a pathway to becoming a solar installer, and in the long term, even possibly starting his own side business in the solar installation space.
To find out more about Hi Neighbour and donate to the cause, head to their website https://www.hineighbour.com.au/.