#BetterTogether – Collaborating to support energy literacy for culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) customers

As part of the #BetterTogether Energy Literacy for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities initiative, Energy Charter signatories Ausgrid, Endeavour Energy and Jemena, together with AGL Australia and Origin Energy have collaborated with Sydney Alliance to co-design and launch the Voices for Power Energy ‘Train-the-Trainer’ Project.

The Voices for Power Energy ‘Train-the-Trainer’ Project is a first-of-its-kind energy literacy program for CALD communities across Greater Sydney. Delivered in language, in culture and in community, the Train-the-Trainer project is equipping leaders from several cultural and religious communities to become ‘Community Energy Trainers’ through co-delivering a series of informative energy education workshops.

Empowered by these learnings, leaders can then support others within their community to take control of their energy concerns, adopt simple energy safety practices and negotiate a better deal on their energy bills with a specific focus on supporting those in more vulnerable circumstances.

“The relational engagement approach Sydney Alliance champion, which builds in dedicated time to get to know each other, listen, question, and share stories is so important. It means this project and its learnings has been designed with respect and consideration for every person involved and those of the people or businesses that they represent. That is something that will help it stand the test of time.” Emily Duck, Corporate Social Responsibility Specialist at Jemena

“Through deep listening, the Voices for Power project has listened to hundreds of stories from communities about their struggles with the energy system. Voices for Power’s vision is that CALD communities become empowered, informed, and confident actors in the energy system. As a result, CALD communities’ interests and concerns are more readily understood and taken into consideration by other actors in the energy system, including energy businesses, energy regulators and government, when creating energy policy.” Thuy Linh Nguyen, Community Organiser at the Sydney Alliance

Following the completion of the project’s ‘co-design’ stage, which involved numerous energy and community partner workshops and the development of a suite of community training materials, the Voices for Power ‘Train-the-Trainer’ Program is now in its ‘pilot delivery’ stage.

Pilot delivery commenced in late July, with online training sessions held over two days, involving 11 community leaders from Vietnamese, Spanish, Hindi, Nepali, Urdu, Tongan, Arabic and Chinese speaking backgrounds. Training sessions incorporated interactive formats such as verbal and visual presentations, small group discussions, quizzes, story sharing, practical exercises (like bill labelling) and role-plays (including with retailer contact centre staff).

Each training session sought to test the training approach and content, in addition to generating learning outcomes through pre-workshop and post-workshop surveys, observations from the training room and small group debriefing discussions. Community leaders also gave feedback on any improvements to make training more engaging and relevant for their communities. Training topics included:

  • Introduction to the energy system
  • Saving Energy – Reading Your Bill and Getting the Best Deal
  • Saving Energy – Energy Saving Tips and Payment Support
  • Energy Safety

Some of the pilot outcomes included:

  • All participants reported increased confidence taking actions related to their energy bills and energy consumption. Several advised they renegotiated their own deals following the sessions
  • All participants reported now understanding how energy is distributed and supplied to their homes, and all but one could clearly identify the role of retailers versus distributors.
  • All participants reported increased confidence in knowing what to do and who to contact in the event of an energy safety issue

Broader training feedback also found that online delivery was not ideal but still effective, interactive workshops are the most engaging format and simple messages, reiterated often, were grasped easier to help participants to form relational connections.

“At the recent milestone event we heard stories from Community Energy Champions about how the Voices for Power Energy Training Program has impacted them and their communities already. Highlighting the value even from early project stages. We also heard from project partners about the importance of co-design and cross-sector collaboration to achieving real and transformative impact.” – Selina O’Connor, Government and Stakeholder Relations Manager, Ausgrid

Following some minor refinements, further training sessions were rolled out across the Voices for Power network in the Nepalese and Chinese communities throughout September.

Moving forward, the vision for the second half of the project is to train at least 140 community members from diverse backgrounds. To learn more and get involved contact Sydney Alliance!