CDU students powering ahead in remote NT 

Norman Hagan, ESO, Yuelamu Community

l-r: Glenn Irvine, CDU lecturer (essential services), Darren Johnson, manager/community liaison, Remote Operations, PWC and Andrew Gaff, community liaison officer, PWC

Charles Darwin University (CDU) electrotechnology students are completing advanced training in a program supported by Group Training Northern Territory (GTNT) and sponsored by Power and Water Corporation (PWC).

Essential Services Operators (ESOs) are community residents employed by local councils in remote communities across the Territory and engaged to maintain power, sewerage and water infrastructure of their community.

24 ESOs, representing 15 communities from The Barkly region to the SA border, undertook Power and Water's familiarisation training at the Sadadeen Valley Complex and Alice Springs Resort. Of these 24 participants, thirteen are studying with CDU.

Darren Johnson, Manager Community Liaison, Remote Operators, Power and Water said the ESOs play an important role in their communities.

'It's a hands-on role and this course provides skills and knowledge transfer so they are delivering the service standards we want,' he said. 'They are doing an excellent job because we get compliments, not complaints.'

The 13 enrolled ESOs are completing CDU's Certificate II Remote Area Essential Services. Glenn Irvine, lecturer in essential services, visits communities to assess and train the students on behalf of GTNT and Power and Water.

'Many of the ESOs have various levels of skills, most are doing very well at the course,' Darren said. 'Having local ESOs on the communities delivering essential services in a safe, environmentally friendly and professional standard to our customers is what we do.

'We see the combined training by CDU, GTNT and PWC to be a positive capacity building exercise within remote communities.'