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Three exciting new ways Bendigo TAFE is delivering education outcomes and a greener future for regional Victoria

Bendigo TAFE continues to provide access to industry-leading education opportunities and greener futures with the implementation of three major projects that will impact the Bendigo community and wider regional Victoria.

Improving education access, upskilling in the latest technology, and embracing green power are some of the ways Bendigo TAFE are supporting the future education needs of our community thanks to an investment of more than $2 million from the Victorian Government.

Smart Farm Laboratory – Bendigo Charleston Road Campus

Bendigo TAFE has recently commenced training at its new Smart Farm Laboratory, which provides leading training for the next generation of heavy vehicles specialists.

“There’s more technology in a modern-day tractor than there is in a Tesla,” Jono Williams, heavy vehicle teacher, explains.

“As farm equipment becomes more advanced, the reliance on precision electronics and complex mechanical systems means you need a different skill set to maintain it.”

The new Smart Farm Lab is fitted with training simulators aligned to the latest technology in the agricultural machinery industry, thanks to support from the Victorian Government.

“The students we train now aren't mechanics, they're technicians. They not only need to have traditional skills, but also in-depth knowledge of modern electronics and hydraulics,” says Jono, who has seen the industry transform significantly with the introduction of new technologies to the sector.

“The Smart Farm Lab lets us teach the latest technology. We use simulator boards to create examples of real-life faults, like problems with a seeding element or pump. The students diagnose the issues and find solutions. They get a great understanding of how a hi-tech tractor works and how it communicates with farm implements.”

With the ability to train 100 apprentices each year, the laboratory will help support the agriculture industry, and provide contemporary education outcomes for an ever-changing and agile sector.

Jono is excited about the potential of the laboratory, and the future for his students.

“Our set-up is already second-to-none, with brand new Massey Ferguson tractors and a hydraulic test simulator. Now the Smart Farm Lab positions us as the leading Victorian TAFE for the Certificate III in Agricultural Mechanical Technology (AUR30420),” Jono said.

Mobile Training Van – Electrical Motor Rewinding

Bendigo TAFE is the only registered training organisation in Australia delivering the Certificate III in Electrical Machine Repair (UEE30620). With an increasing reliance on imported machinery, an ageing workforce and limited new apprentices coming through the sector, providing access to this sought-after course is limited.

To address this problem and to train the next generation of specialists in clean economy vocations, Bendigo TAFE has introduced a new electrical motor rewinding mobile training van to enable a dispersed population of apprentices to access this important education.

The van is purpose-built and fitted out with the technical power requirements and equipment to meet the needs of industry across the nation, thanks to Victorian Government funding. It allows Bendigo TAFE’s teachers to go out on-site with modern and up-to-date equipment to engage apprentices training in machine repair. 

Many modern and energy efficient appliances across industries have electric rotating motors, replacing older and less environmentally friendly power sources in electrical goods. Providing the specialised training required to maintain these newer appliances is one of the many ways Bendigo TAFE is supporting a cleaner and greener energy future.

Scott Thornton, an apprentice training in electronic motor rewinding, has had access to the van as part of his studies.

“I’m aware that sometimes even large organisations cannot afford some of the equipment purchased with the grant so I’m very grateful to have this available through Bendigo TAFE,” Scott said.

Bendigo TAFE solar installation – recharging campuses and cars

Last year RACV Solar installed 638 solar panels at Bendigo TAFE to deliver a 319kW system and 80kW electric vehicle charger at its Charleston Road Campus as part of its journey in supporting a cleaner energy future.

The new system will save an estimated 490.6 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year and will also benefit the students at Bendigo TAFE, who will get hands-on experience working with the new technology as part of the electrotechnology curriculum.

One of the largest solar installation projects in Bendigo, the system was made possible through an investment by the Victorian Government.

Bendigo TAFE will use around 70 per cent of the power generated from the system, saving more than $36,000 on electricity costs annually.

"It was an exciting project to work on, being the first of its kind at Bendigo TAFE,” explains Kerrie Waterman, Bendigo TAFE’s project manager.

“We can monitor our daily energy usage and see the impact we are having.

“Working with a local installer via RACV Solar was fantastic and allowed us to support local specialists on a vital infrastructure project, and it has really delivered on our projected outcomes. The financial and environmental savings have exceeded expectations.”

Greg Edye, General Manager Energy RACV said the introduction of solar and electric vehicle charging at Bendigo TAFE showed the institution’s commitment to transition to a cleaner energy future.

“RACV Solar was delighted to use our team of local experts to help Bendigo TAFE with their cleaner energy aspirations,” Mr Edye said.

“RACV Solar’s team of engineers can design, construct and integrate solar systems with a range of solutions including installations rooftops, car parks and even floating solar on bodies of water.”

The system installed by RACV Solar won the project through competitive tender. RACV Solar share Bendigo TAFE’s prioritisation and support of local jobs and local education.

Additionally, the new electric vehicle charger is available on the Chargefox platform and adds much needed electric vehicle fast charger infrastructure in regional north-west Victoria, with the capacity to fast-charge two cars simultaneously.

Comments attributable to Minister for Skills and TAFE, Gayle Tierney:

“By investing in training and skills in the regions, and giving support and funding to training providers, we’re helping to meet a crucial need for skilled workers and giving all young Victorians real job opportunities close to home.”

“There is so much potential for Victorians to have rewarding careers in new and emerging industries as we focus on achieving a clean and sustainable economy, and we’re supporting high-quality training that gives trainees the best start.”

Comments attributable to Bendigo TAFE Chief Executive Officer Sally Curtain:

“We’ve been able to deliver significant education opportunities in partnership with the Victorian Government. We know these projects will change lives through the delivery of in-demand skills for our regional industries.”

“Bendigo TAFE is dedicated to a cleaner and greener future, and that includes supporting and investing in emerging energy industries. We’re proud to support this through infrastructure and education projects.”

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