A graduation ceremony has been held today in Wagga Wagga for Aboriginal people who have completed a fee-free skills training program as part of the multi-billion dollar Snowy 2.0 project.

Nine participants in the program celebrated their graduation at an event attended by the Federal Member for Riverina, Michael McCormack MP and Wagga Mayor, Greg Conkey. Another program participant is already employed at the Snowy 2.0 concrete segment factory in Cooma.

The seven-week pre-employment training was an initiative of Snowy Hydro’s Snowy 2.0 principal contractor, Future Generation Joint Venture, and funded by Training Services NSW. 

Snowy 2.0 is the largest renewable energy project in Australia and will utilise pumped hydro to significantly expand the Snowy Scheme. It will deliver on-demand power to 500,000 homes at the same time, and large-scale storage to underpin thousands of megawatts of intermittent renewables. Two existing dams are being connected as part of the project through 27-kilometres of tunnels and a new underground power station. 

The Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education Geoff Lee said this was a great example of upskilling people in the regions to benefit from major infrastructure projects.

“This $5.1 billion Snowy Hydro project is expected to create 4,000 jobs over the life of the project, and it’s important that local people get the opportunity to work on it,” Mr Lee said.

The program saw participants learn to carry out and measure calculations, use construction tools and equipment and meet WHS requirements. 

Future Generation, in partnership with TAFE NSW, developed the program after consultation with the Aboriginal community, and included yarning circles and Indigenous artworks. 

Snowy Hydro Relations Manager Dean Lynch said the training and upskilling opportunities associated with Snowy 2.0 would create an important legacy.

“At Snowy Hydro we have a long-established culture of providing learning opportunities for employees and we are delighted that through Snowy 2.0 we can generate education and ongoing benefits for local and regional communities. This training is helping people acquire skills that make them job-ready and will be great not only for Snowy 2.0, but other construction projects in the future.”

The program is thanks to collaboration between Training Services and TAFE NSW, NIAA, NSW

Aboriginal Affairs, Corporate Connexions, Department of Education Skills & Employment, Job Active providers and all the present and emerging elders who have been directly involved.