A record number of women is among Queensland’s next generation of energy professionals joining Ergon Energy as apprentices in 2018.

The 76 new apprentices, including 14 women, are being welcomed at inductions in Cairns, Townsville, Rockhampton, Maryborough and Toowoomba as they embark on a career in one of the state’s publicly-owned electricity businesses.

Energy Minister Anthony Lynham is in Townsville today to welcome the 22 apprentices doing their initial training in Townsville.

Communities Minister and Member for Mundingburra Coralee O’Rourke said apprenticeships offered an ideal opportunity for women to earn while learning.

“It’s great to see the increasing number of women committing to a demanding, but rewarding career in a traditionally male dominated industry,” she said.

Member for Thuringowa Aaron Harper commended the apprentices for taking on a community-focussed career.

“As a former paramedic, I personally appreciate how an apprenticeship with an employer like Ergon is more than job – it’s a great career choice, and a commitment to the community,” he said.

Member for Townsville Scott Stewart said the 14 apprentices could look forward to a challenging but rewarding future, working with a highly-valued publicly-owned business.

“A trades apprenticeship is an excellent foundation in understanding the electricity industry, and some of Ergon’s executives and senior managers started their careers as apprentices,” he said.

Dr Lynham said the people of regional and rural Queensland relied on Ergon crews to continue to enjoy a world-class, safe and reliable electricity supply.

“It’s the job of Ergon crews to keep the lights on and they often work in atrocious conditions to restore power after storms and cyclones,” he said.

Energy Queensland Chief Executive David Smales said the 2018 intake continued Ergon’s commitment to training the workforce of tomorrow.

“It’s vital that we continue to teach and pass on the front-line expertise and skills now and into the future to deliver a safe and reliable electricity supply to customers,” he said.

“Most of our crews throughout the state began their careers in the industry as apprentices, just like this year’s intake, and the value and reliance the community places on their work soon becomes apparent to them – especially in times of natural disasters.”

The new apprentices will train as a communications technician, distribution linesperson, transmission linesperson, mechanical trade (diesel fitting) or electrician.

The 76 Ergon apprentices take the total apprentice cohort across the state’s publicly-owned electricity businesses to 110. Energex has hired 23 new apprentices in the south-east corner, CS Energy will welcome two mechanical apprentices next month at Kogan Creek Power Station near Chinchilla and Stanwell Corp has nine new apprentices across their operations at Stanwell Power Station near Rockhampton and Tarong power stations in the South Burnett region.

Once all the recruits have completed their initial training, the apprentices will return to their home depots in 33 locations, from Warwick to Mossman and Quilpie to Normanton.

This year’s intake of apprentices will be based at: Atherton, Barcaldine, Biggenden, Bundaberg, Cairns, Charters Towers, Childers, Dalby, Emerald, Gladstone, Hervey Bay, Home Hill, Ingham, Kingaroy, Mackay, Mareeba, Maryborough, Miriam Vale, Monto, Mossman, Mt Isa, Normanton, Quilpie, Ravenshoe, Richmond, Rockhampton, Sarina, St George, Toowoomba, Townsville, Warwick and Yarraman.