SEC logo

Sparky adds value to his business with a solar qualification from TAFE

Joe Gauci was 16 when he joined the original SEC as an apprentice electrician in the Latrobe Valley. Growing up in Yallourn North, a job with the SEC was an easy choice.

Joe Gauci standing in fron of solar panel

The apprenticeship allowed him to work throughout the organisation, rotating to different SEC sites every six months.

“An SEC apprenticeship was one of the best you could do because they covered everything,” Joe says.

“They used to put on 50-odd apprentices every year in all the trades. We worked at Hazelwood Power Station, Yallourn, W Power Station, Morwell open cut mine, the old Briquette Factory, and down at old Yallourn, which was D Station.”

By the age of 19, Joe was a fully qualified electrician, and after a few years in the power stations, he left the SEC to set up his own business. He’s been self-employed ever since.

Forty years later, his company, Warragul-based Gauci’s Electrics, employs six electricians, including two apprentices, who work throughout Gippsland, mainly on TAFE and school maintenance, but also new builds, commercial work, and insurance replacement and repairs.

Four years ago, Joe added a new quiver to his bow, completing a Clean Energy Council-approved qualification at TAFE Gippsland that allows him to design and construct solar systems.

“Having a solar qualification adds value to my business,” Joe says. “We’ve found niche work in repairs and modifications that big solar companies don’t want to do, and you need to be accredited to do that work. We don’t say ‘no, we can’t do that’.”

Besides, it was an obvious progression.

“Solar and wind will be a big part of the future. If you’re a sparky who wants to be in the industry for the next 20 or 30 years, you’d be silly not to have the accreditation. If you don’t keep moving, you fall behind.”

Latest news:

We’re taking the guesswork out of going electric

The SEC is calling for volunteers to test a new digital planner to help households go electric.

My Efficient Electric Home founder gives top tips for saving money this winter

'Victorians could save a fortune if they turned off their gas heating and used reverse-cycle air conditioners to heat their homes instead' says energy expert Tim Forcey

Renewable investment leader Simon Corbell to chair SEC board

The Victorian Government has announced the appointment of our independent board of directors, chaired by renewable energy industry leader Simon Corbell.

Sparky adds value to his business with a solar qualification from TAFE

Joe Gauci was 16 when he joined the original SEC as an apprentice electrician in the Latrobe Valley.

Happy outcome for Victorian sparky who helps people electrify and save money

Mornington Peninsula business owner Trent Jones has seen vast changes in his industry since starting out as an electrician 18 years ago.

From devastation comes hope – and a new, energy-efficient school

It’s not only reduced energy bills but also made the whole school more comfortable.

All-electric homes open up a world of diverse career opportunities

“It feels good to be part of an industry that’s part of the solution. To know we are contributing in a small way to something that is so much bigger than us.”

Electrical apprenticeship sparks a career in solar for Madi

“Solar is such a growing industry, and I feel like it’s going to be the way of the future”

Switching to electric means sustainability and comfort

Meet Matt from Ballarat, who slashed his annual gas bill by $1,500 after switching to electric heating.

Efficiency retrofit saves thousands in energy bills

Energy efficiency consultant Richard and his wife took a staged approach when they began retrofitting their home.

Engineering student discovers a career in renewables and doesn’t look back

Su-Yong Oh hadn’t considered a career in renewable energy until he began working as a project control assistant on the Melbourne Renewable Energy Hub.

SEC invests in one of the world’s biggest battery projects

We’re investing $245 million in the Melbourne Renewable Energy Hub (MREH), a major milestone in our plans to deliver renewable, affordable and reliable energy for all Victorians.

SEC strategic plan to accelerate Victoria's renewable energy transition

The new SEC will put power back in the hands of Victorians by investing in renewable energy generation and storage, supporting households to go all-electric, and building the renewable energy workforce we need to drive Victoria’s energy transition.

Developing the renewable energy workforce of the future

The SEC Energy Jobs and Skills Forum welcomed more than 300 industry and community leaders to share insights to help inform the SEC Centre of Training Excellence and the Victorian Energy Jobs Plan.

Energy upgrades deliver a feel-good bonus

When Claire and her wife began upgrades to reduce their power bills, they discovered other unexpected advantages.

Students consider renewables careers at Gippsland energy summit

Helping the environment and their communities are key motivators for these young Gippsland students considering a career in renewable energy.