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Canberra’s bus mechanics go electric with future-focused training


The ACT government is supporting workers to gain the skills they’ll need in a zero-emissions future as part of the transition to cleaner public transport with future-focused training.

“Zero emissions buses are the future of Canberra’s public transport fleet. That’s why we want to ensure today’s diesel bus mechanics gain the skills and knowledge to work with new electric models,” minister for Transport and City Services Chris Steel said. 

“At the election we gave the commitment that every diesel bus mechanic at Transport Canberra would be supported to get the skills to work on zero emissions buses. Australia’s renewables transition is going to create lots of new jobs and bring fundamental changes to existing ones. We want Canberrans to be skilled up and ready so they can benefit from the opportunities ahead.” 

The tailored training program has been developed in partnership between Transport Canberra and the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT). The first six mechanics will undertake the training next week at the CIT Campus at Fyshwick with an initial two-day course, coupled with an online pre-learning package. 

Staff will gain essential skills required to transition from working with diesel buses to electric equivalents, including: 

  • Depowering and reinitialising battery electric vehicles 
  • Maintaining rechargeable energy storage systems 
  • Testing on electric motors 
  • Maintenance of an all-electric fleet. 

From next year, all ACT government mechanics and workshop staff will be trained to work with electric vehicles as a priority. Once this team is skilled up, electric vehicle safety and awareness training will be offered to Transport Officers and other key bus depot staff by mid-2022. 

The ACT government’s development of this training package will also benefit the broader workforce in the Canberra region, as the transition begins across light and heavy vehicle fleets including the freight industry. In future years, automotive workers will be able to undertake the training to upskill as electric vehicles become more popular and available. 

“CIT is working closely with industry to co-design training in new and emerging industries such as renewable energy. We have worked closely with Tesla to ensure CIT’s electric-vehicle training for both light and heavy vehicles is cutting-edge to meet local skills needs now and in the future,” Leanne Cover, CEO of CIT said. 

“This is an important step in a fair transition to net zero emissions. While we are investing in technology, it’s essential to also invest in people so that workers can find and keep good renewables jobs,” Steel said. 

The commencement of this new training comes as the ACT government moves closer to finalising procurement on the first zero emissions buses to enter Canberra’s fleet from 2022. 

An announcement is expected in the new year advising the outcome of the recent bus procurement including the first electric buses, and the release of the RFP for the next tranche of 90 electric buses. 

Product specific training for Transport Canberra technicians will be provided to compliment the CIT training. 

These actions are all part of the Zero-Emission Transition Plan for Transport Canberra. The full details of the plan are available at the Transport Canberra website. 

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