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Schneider Electric’s bid to overcome skills shortage

Schneider Electric has donated close to ten thousand dollars worth of its motor control equipment to bring the TAFE NSW Riverina Institute’s Albury Campus engineering labs up to date and boost engineering training, a press notice from the company said.

According to Riverina Institute’s Electro-technology teacher, Alistair MacDonald, the campus’s engineering labs require top-notch automation and control equipment.

“One of the subjects on the curriculum is AC Machines which includes both theory and practicals. The students study all aspects of reduced voltage starting and also speed control, motor protection and braking systems. The trailer was invaluable for this subject and we tried to work it into as many classes as possible,” he said.

Schneider Electric donated the equipment in a bid to promote the automation and control engineering field to students in an increasing engineering skills shortage.

“A recent survey conducted by the National Electrical and Communications Association of Australia (NECA), confirmed that the Australian electrical industry is still in the grips of a widespread skills shortage,” the company said.

“This research shows that the supply of electricians skilled in automation and control is not meeting demand. The responsibility for maintaining an adequate pool of skilled electrical trade’s people is shared between industry and the government’s tertiary education institutions.”

According to Riverina TAFE’s MacDonald, Schneider Electric’s support was a huge surprise.

“I never anticipated the tremendous support we would receive. Thanks to the TeSys DOL motor starters, which included additional auxiliary contacts and overload relays supplied by Schneider Electric, we can now expand our practicals,” he said.

“It’s a great benefit to our students, and a very generous gesture by Schneider.”

The donation came off the back of travelling product roadshows which Schneider Electric was performing for customers across Australia.

According to the company, it decided that engineering students at TAFE would also benefit from seeing Schneider Electric’s automation and control technology first-hand.

“The new equipment has created much enthusiasm for all concerned. We use it for all our circuit development subjects, so the students continue to gain great benefit from this donation,” said MacDonald.

“Hands on exposure to the latest products in an educational environment is really important. To physically experience modern products makes a big difference to the students’ motivation. It’s a great thing.”

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