A new report from Jobs and Skills Australia has found a lack in fundamental skills and training needed to assist in the country’s renewable energy transition, with the energy sector needing significant development to ensure the workforce is up to the challenge the transition presents.  

According to the report, reaching Australia’s net zero emissions by 2050 target will require a workforce transformation that is substantial but not unprecedented, requiring a new generation of workers from both existing energy sectors, and through new energy pathways. 

The Clean Energy Generation: workforce needs for a net zero economy report created by Jobs and Skills Australia found that the clean energy workforce is at the intersection of two major transformations. These transformations include how the industry generates, uses and exports energy in order to decarbonise the country; and also how skills are delivered through higher education, on-the-job training, and migration to build the workforce. 

The report presented an extensive analysis of the current and future workforce, as well as an analysis of future skills needed, transition to challenges, and opportunities for innovation in the education and training system. 

Opportunities, risks and reforms that are needed for a successful transformation of the clean energy workforce were further analysed throughout the report.

In addition, the report offers an Australian-first definition of the clean energy workforce, what it currently looks like and what it needs to look like to ensure the workforce grows at the pace and scale required. It finds we have enough workers overall and most likely enough university graduates; but outlines the risk of a shortfall of Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualified workers, especially amongst electricians and other trades.

The report also identifies both the emerging skills gaps in regional Australia, as well as the opportunities for growth in the regions where new clean energy industries will emerge.

It also offers opportunities for a tertiary skills, training and qualifications system that is fit-for purpose to keep pace with rapidly changing technologies and emerging occupations, recommending innovative solutions to on-the-job skilling and all types of industry-led training, from Technical and Further Education (TAFE) Centres of Excellence to industry accredited microcredentials.

The report also ackles the barriers and challenges that women, First Nations people and migrants face in participating in the sector, and the skills and talent the economy currently misses out on. It also provides a worker-centred approach to support transitioning communities, acknowledging that competition for skilled migrants is high and while workers with clean energy skills are heavily concentrated in our regions, we have been slow to attract and support them.

The report found that if executed correctly, the clean energy transformation could potentially create generations of high-quality jobs for all Australians. 

To read the full report, click here.

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