Ebuses are driving TAFE NSW and Volvo partnership


January 2023

Ebuses are driving TAFE NSW and Volvo partnership

TAFE NSW and Volvo are leading the development of skills needed to work with zero emission buses. The partnership has helped drive this clean environment initiative, as New South Wales legislates to replace diesel fleets with electric buses over time.  

The acceleration towards Ebuses needed new training and certification processes to be developed quickly, as nothing existed in the market. Safety is a key driver as the positivity around emissions reduction will disappear if an accident dealing with voltage occurs.  

Innovative product development

Volvo’s goal was to engage their industry state-wide, including competitors. TAFE NSW consulted extensively with peak bodies, government agencies, public and private bus operators, manufacturers and their networks.

Together they determined that a standardised base of industry-wide training was needed, along with brand specific additions.

Volvo’s product and technical experts worked closely with TAFE NSW designers to design and develop electric vehicle Microskills which can be delivered online or facilitated face to face, suited to many different bus related roles and learner groups.  

“Volvo were great to work with. We established agreed goals and a clear understanding of who the learners are - that’s key to product development. We committed to tight but realistic timelines - contracts were signed in July, and we were trialling by October.

We’ve created a skills and training framework to support and enable the industry. This required quality relationships with not just Volvo, but all bus manufacturers and operators.”

“To trial the content and functionality, Volvo distributed 500 online product licences at no cost to bus operators, dealerships, other manufacturers, and then gathered their feedback. Some were potential new customers for us. It showed them our market leadership and helped improve the course before launch, so it was mutually beneficial for TAFE NSW and us.

A great benefit of working with TAFE NSW was delivering the product quickly. The skills had to stay ahead of Ebus implementation. We all mobilised and pulled together to develop a solution rapidly.”

Leadership in relationships

The partnership has relied on collaboration, openness and shared goals. Investing the time of project staff and product experts, as well as active involvement of executives, paid dividends.

“It was a professional and proactive approach from TAFE NSW, guiding us each step of the way. We’d never done anything like this before. They were well set up, very organised, very agile. Even down to the technology we were using day to day. Everything was done remotely, totally digital. But their team were very approachable. They’d ring to check in, it felt like they were holding our hands!

We all had a similar approach to getting the work done. It was a joint project team of doers.”

“Strategic projects like this need visibility within an organisation as large as TAFE NSW which ensured a whole of TAFE NSW response. People across our business need to know what’s happening.

We’re hoping to use a similar approach with other industries, like hydrogen. There’s scope to come up with new partnerships using this model - helping industry to co-innovate and co-design new training models, as part of leading their sector.

All of Australia could benefit from our work. Interstate TAFE colleagues don’t need to reinvent the wheel, but instead work together to leverage what has already been done, as Zero Emission Buses roll out in their States.”

TAFE NSW has delivered a high-quality product helping to reform transport and has been recognised for their industry leadership with a ‘Great Idea’ Award at TDA’s TAFE Staff Recognition Awards. This successful partnership continues to help leverage new business opportunities.