Thu 10 Dec 2020

Dr Ellie shares energy expertise

WITT Energy Lead Dr Ellie Khaghanikavkani presented at the first New Zealand Offshore Wind Forum this week, setting the scene for renewable energy in Aotearoa and sharing WITT’s vision for education in the energy space. WITT joined Ara Ake as co-sponsors of the Venture Taranaki event.

The purpose of the forum was to inspire discussion on the potential of offshore wind for New Zealand, the opportunities it provides for Taranaki and New Zealand, and to explore what the barriers are and what the next steps might be.

More than 120 participants attended the event, which was held simultaneously online and at the Plymouth Hotel.

As well as addressing the challenges and benefits of offshore wind, Ellie’s presentation talked about renewable energy opportunities in New Zealand and introduced WITT’s plan to establish an energy centre of vocational excellence.

“The Centre for Vocational Excellence (CoVE) will underpin a rapidly transitioning and growing New Zealand energy sector and develop the training required for the future workforce,” she said.

She also talked about the specific skills needed for future renewable resources including wind, geothermal, solar, bio and waste to energy.

Ellie’s team is investigating the educational opportunities available in renewable energy, including short courses, training, workshops, diplomas and degrees. To start, WITT’s looking to develop micro-credentials to fill the gaps, from training courses on heat pumps and solar installation, to electric vehicle technology and data specialists.

“We are examining the skills gaps for New Zealand’s future workforce, based on industry demand,” Ellie said.

“We are currently in the process of collaboration and consultation – we’re interviewing stakeholders to gather information and decide on the future training scheme in this space.”