March 27, 2024

First Year Electrical Apprentices Soar at Penrith Solar Centre with Apprenticeship Australia 

Cody McDonald’s journey to becoming an electrician at Penrith Solar Centre began with leaving a job in retail to pursue an electrical apprenticeship.   

“I applied on a whim to see where it would go, and I ended up being successful. I think it’s great for girls to get into a trade. It’s different, and it’s good. I hope that one day I’m running a truck doing all that stuff.”  

Young woman with a neutral expression standing in front of a black background with the illuminated words "the future is bright.

Fortunately, she found community and encouragement at Penrith Solar Centre. We install solar power and battery storage for residential and commercial properties. While our focus is on solar technology, we provide unique learning environments for apprentices like Cody. They learn about all aspects of the electrical trade in our onsite training facility before moving onto a truck.  

Jack Davidson, now in his third year of apprenticeship, found Penrith Solar Centre while exploring career options. “I was just having a look around as any young person would, trying to get into a trade. And I saw the space, and I saw what the company was, and I was just keen.”  

Man standing in front of a screen with the text "the future is defi" displayed.

Behind the scenes, apprentices like Cody and Jack are the unsung heroes of Penrith Solar Centre. Their dedication and hard work form the backbone of our team. In the words of our Director, Jake Warner, “Without the apprentices, this business would quite literally fall over. So, for us, having great apprentices is really, really important.”  

Recognizing the importance of nurturing talent, Penrith Solar Centre partnered with Apprenticeship Support Australia to provide guidance and support to apprentices throughout their journey. By eliminating fees for apprentices, New South Wales is opening doors for young people like Cody and Jack. Apprentices employed by companies like Penrith Solar Centre are eligible for government support of up to $10,000 to assist with living expenses.  

“It’s been a great incentive by the federal government,” Cody added. “That money can be used for anything.”  

As Australia moves towards Net Zero emissions, the demand for clean energy solutions is increasing quickly. Government initiatives demonstrate commitment to developing a skilled workforce capable of driving the country’s clean energy transition forward.  

A man installing solar mounting system on a roof.

“This initiative is part of our commitment to invest in developing talent that can deliver Australia’s clean energy infrastructure.”  

Looking ahead, the future of the industry is bright. “Once we get them in the door, they don’t leave. They know that this is where the industry is going. It’s all about being renewable. So, if we can get more people into it, more people interested, it’s just better for everyone.”  

As Cody, Jack, and countless other apprentices continue to hone their skills and contribute to the renewable energy sector, they demonstrate the power of such opportunities and hope for a sustainable future.  

Learn more about a sustainable future!

Jake Warner’s Thoughts on Partnering with Apprenticeship Support Australia 

A smiling man in a black polo shirt standing in front of a blurred sign that reads "the future is electric.

A few months ago, Kate Creedon came to our office with Apprenticeship Support Australia to explore why we excel at staff retention. They were impressed with our training facility and other aspects of our operation. 

They recorded a video and wrote an article showcasing Cody, a first-year apprentice, and Jack, a third-year apprentice. The article was well-received, and we plan to use the video in our ads to highlight our team’s importance. 

Apprenticeship Support Australia recently released their 2023 report, showing why people did or didn’t finish their apprenticeships. Surprisingly, 48% of apprentices don’t complete their training. We were recognised as one of the leading employers of apprentices in Australia, with one of the highest retention rates. 

I was asked to join a panel discussion, led by Peter from Apprenticeship Support Australia, aimed to understand why some apprenticeship programs fail. I had a proud moment discussing this in front of Endeavour Energy, where I did my apprenticeship years ago. It helped me realise how well we support our team, something we all take for granted a little too often.  

Penrith Solar Centre installers on roof.

Our actions here exceeded my high expectations. It was a flattering and rewarding experience to see our efforts acknowledged.  

The discussion was extremely rewarding. There were a lot of takeaways from the experience. One of the most important topics centred around keeping communication channels open within a team. Whether you’re a team leader or a CEO, maintaining open communication is everything. A strong leadership team is essential. 

Having an open-door policy is crucial. It’s why we work as well as we do and it’s a great reminder to keep this culture as we continue towards Net Zero. 

The event provided Jack and Rob with the opportunity to showcase their public speaking skills, which they both excelled at. We’ll continue collaborating with Apprenticeship Support Australia, providing feedback on employing apprentices. 

Two men working on a roof with ropes.

I believe there should be strict standards for employers hiring apprentices, similar to requirements for driving. Employers should be able to outline a clear plan for the apprentice’s future, even if it’s just the basics. 

At Penrith Solar Centre, transparency about our goals and expectations is part of the company culture. Some employers misuse apprenticeships, giving tasks unrelated to the trade. An apprenticeship period is a limited time to learn a complex trade like electrical work, which encompasses so many fields. 

Completing an apprenticeship requires a bit of elbow grease from both the apprentice and the employer. Employers who prioritize the apprentice’s success always increase the likelihood of completion. Ultimately, caring more about the team’s success than their own success leads the apprentice and the employer to achievement. 

As we move forward, maintaining strong communication and high moral standards is everything. Employers should be evaluated upon these qualities before hiring apprentices. It’s a two-way street, with success relying on mutual respect, commitment, and support. 

A group of people posing in front of a building at Penrith Solar Centre.

If you’re interested in learning more about working with Penrith Solar Centre, you might want to check out the following link for more information about a career with PSC.

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