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Funding boost prepares ACEPT for engineering surge

A specialist engineering training centre will be built at Challenger Institute of Technology’s Australian Centre for Energy and Process Training (ACEPT) following a $15 million funding commitment by the Western Australian Government.

The funding, announced in the State Budget last week, will increase ACEPT’s capacity to meet the future workforce development needs of the Australian LNG industry through the training of electrical and instrumentation control engineers and engineering technicians.

Challenger Institute chief executive officer Liz Harris said the new centre would double ACEPT’s annual training capacity to 1,800 students.

“With several new LNG projects entering the operational phase over the next few years, demand for highly skilled operators to operate and maintain plants safely and efficiently will increase dramatically,” Ms Harris said.

“To meet this growing demand and continue to support the workforce development needs of the LNG industry, we will need to expand ACEPT’s physical and virtual training infrastructure.”

ACEPT currently provides training services in process operations from entry level to advanced diploma and supports a growing number of electricians completing advanced trade qualifications in instrumentation.

The new engineering centre will support the delivery of a wider range of qualifications focused on developing the high level technical skills required for the operation and maintenance of LNG plants, including advanced diplomas in mechanical, electrical and structural engineering.

ACEPT director Greg Guppy said the engineering centre, to be located at the ACEPT campus in Henderson south of Perth, will offer an applied LNG learning environment incorporating hands-on practical experience at ACEPT’s closed loop processing plant.

It will also build on ACEPT’s training strategies to provide foundation skills for new entrants to the oil and gas industry, up-skill existing workers and deliver gap training for tradespeople, as well as target programs for under-represented groups.

ACEPT’s Industry Advisory Board chair Keith Spence said the funding commitment by the State Government demonstrated the importance to WA of ensuring a job-ready workforce to meet the projected needs of the oil and gas sector.

“Workforce demand for oil and gas projects, including construction, engineering and operations growth, is expected to substantially increase by 2018,” Mr Spence said.

“With access to operational plants currently limited, the hands-on learning environment at ACEPT is valuable and unique among oil and gas training providers.

“Sustaining ACEPT’s high level service delivery into the future, as major LNG projects move into an operational phase, will require extending ACEPT’s scope and capacity.

“The new engineering centre will significantly build on ACEPT’s ability to provide comprehensive workforce development services and, more generally, to ensure a skilled and industry-trained workforce.”

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