October 30, 2023 Media release News
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Careers for Net Zero calls for government to grow the clean economy workforce

231026 Careers for Net Zero joint statement


Joint statement – 26 October 2023

A broad coalition of leading industry and professional associations, education institutions, local governments and other non-government organisations is calling for the Commonwealth, state and territory governments to take real action to secure Australia’s emissions reduction and workforce goals.

With multi-year lead times, workforce development needs to be considered up front to ensure we have the workforce to deliver our 2030 target of 43 per cent lower emissions, and our 2050 target of net zero emissions.

In support of this, the Clean Energy Council and Energy Efficiency Council launched the Careers for Net Zero campaign.

Careers for Net Zero showcases the many career opportunities that will help deliver an equitable, prosperous and net zero emissions Australia.

The campaign is underpinned by three goals

  • Growing the clean economy workforce
    Ensuring the clean economy workforce is appropriately sized and skilled to enable a rapid transition to an equitable, prosperous and net zero emissions economy.
  • Empowering everyday Aussies to make a difference
    Enabling students, graduates and experienced workers to find their role in Australia’s clean economy.
  • Moving beyond ambition to action
    Supporting government and industry to co-create and deliver an effective workforce development strategy for the clean economy, and education and training systems that can rapidly scale to meet our net zero emissions goal.

Careers for Net Zero is aligned with the findings from the Australian Government’s recent Working Future white paper and The Clean Energy Generation report, which highlights that “Ambitious net zero targets will need to be matched with ambitious workforce and skills policy.”

Signatories to this statement are calling on government to urgently undertake the recommended actions in The Clean Energy Generation report.

We must support the growth of Australia’s renewables, energy efficiency and electrification, carbon removals and circular economy workforces.

Specifically, this joint statement:

  • Reiterates earlier industry calls for government to determine baseline employment figures across the clean economy, including a fully funded, designed
    and delivered Australian Energy Employment Report that includes energy management work across the whole economy, and is repeated periodically;
  • Calls for the National Energy Workforce Strategy to support the wider clean economy workforce following The Clean Energy Generation report’s definition of clean energy, which includes workers across energy supply, energy demand, clean energy enabling, carbon lifecycle, emissions-intensive and transitioning sectors;
  • Urges government to rapidly fund and deploy an implementation plan alongside the National Energy Workforce Strategy that outlines a clear pathway to bridging the gap between the numbers of clean economy workers we have now, and what we need to realise our 2030 and 2050 emissions reduction goals.

As signatories to this joint statement, industry, educational institutions, and civil society organisations are ready to roll up their sleeves and collaborate with government on developing a world-class skilled, safe and resilient clean economy workforce – and the work needs to start now.

Holly Taylor, Head of Strategy and Partnerships, Energy Efficiency Council
0481 346 145

Anita Talberg, Director – Workforce Development, Clean Energy Council
0405 674 702

About Careers for Net Zero
Careers for Net Zero showcases the many career opportunities that will help deliver an equitable, prosperous and net zero emissions Australia.
Careers for Net Zero is a joint initiative of the Clean Energy Council and Energy Efficiency Council, with the support of Ai Group, Australian Power Institute, Boundless Earth and Engineers Australia.

Learn more at careersfornetzero.org.au



May 11, 2023 Media release
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ESA Budget Summary 2023

Energy Skills Australia staff (ESA) were in attendance to witness Treasurer Jim Chalmers deliver his second budget address to Parliament and the Australian people on Tuesday night.

CEO Mark Burgess said he was “pleased with the governments focus on the transitioning to a clean energy economy and the upskilling of existing workers with a focus on women and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”

“The confirmation of the establishment of the NET Zero Authority has been met with broad support from industry stakeholders. The $83.2million agency will assist an orderly and positive economic transition associated with decarbonisation of energy generation. Additionally, the $20 billion investment in Rewiring the Nation will ensure the transmission network is modernised and infrastructure in place to meet renewable energy generation.”

Earlier this year the Government had commissioned Jobs and Skills Australia to undertake a Clean Energy Capacity Study to evaluate workforce needs and enable Australia to strategically plan for the skills needed for the transition to a clean energy economy. We look forward to viewing the final report in mid 2023.

Other winners out of Tuesdays budget were homeowners and Small and Medium Enterprise looking to improve their energy efficiency and save energy with $1.3 billion in funding going towards the Household Energy Upgrades Fund, and Small Business Energy Incentives with the maximum bonus deduction being $20,000. Both programs will be able to commission upgrades like double glazing, investing in more efficient appliance like heating and cooling and in some cases adding solar and batterie systems. Master Electricians Australia is supportive of the program however is advocating for further expansion to include emerging technologies such as bidirectional electric vehicles which can be used to power homes in times of peak energy use. Further praise came from Rewiring Australia co-founder Saul Griffith who has dubbed it “Australia’s first electrification budget”.

Tuesday’s Budget showed that there was no new money for TAFEs or the vocational education and training sector however it is clear that there is a more collegiate approach between State, Territory, and the Commonwealth Government as they progress negotiations on the 5-year, $3.7 billion National Skills Agreement.

CEO Mark Burgess welcomed the $2 billion investment for the new Hydrogen Headstart Program but felt there was a missed opportunity for capital investment in renewable training. “Australia has the potential on being a world leader when it comes to investing in renewable energy, we need to ensure we have adequate world class training facilities to ensure we have the skilled workforce to meet our NET Zero objective.” said Mark Burgess.

Women in the electrotechnology sector is on a slow increase with the recent statistics from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) showing women now make up 5% of currently employed apprentice electricians. This may not sound like much, and it is not however it is a steady increase compared to 5 or 6 years ago when there was only 2%.

Upskilling workers and inspiring women to pick up the tools in male-dominated industries are central to the Government’s plan to fill widespread labour shortages.

To help get more women in trade-based roles, gender targets will be linked to flagship construction projects by the Federal Government, that cost more than $10m. The target aims to double the proportion of women in apprenticeships and traineeship on all projects by 2030.

National Co-Convenor of WAVE Kit McMahon said in their Gender Equality Finally Takes Centre Stage In Skills & Training Budget recap “We welcome the Government’s recognition to redress inequity in our apprenticeship system through a set of – what we see – as interconnected initiatives,” said Kit. “The deliberate and targeted support and guidance for women apprentices, together with the national standards for employers of apprentices and the Australian Skills Guarantee on major construction projects which sets targets for the employment of women on tools and in the industry more broadly, can be brought together to really transform our system.”

Earlier this month, the Government provide additional funding of $54.3 million over 5 years from 2022–23 to introduce a new non-financial support model for Australian Apprenticeships from 1 July 2024. The model will redesign, refocus and provide organisations with appropriate expertise in supporting women in historically male dominated trade apprenticeships. This will include providing education, advice, or support to increase culturally safe and inclusive workplaces, reduce the cultural barriers to women’s participation, address workplace challenges and support businesses to attract and retain women.

While ESA commends this budget for skills and training and supporting women and first nations people, we know that its success will only be as good as its implementation, and we are keen to work with Government to ensure we have the highly skilled clean economy workforce needed for the future.


Media Enquiries.


July 9, 2022 Media release
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E-Oz Energy Skills Australia appoints new Executive Officer

Energy Skills Australia are pleased to announce the appointment of Mark Burgess to the role of Executive Officer.

Mark will be guided and supported by Chief Executive Officer Bob Taylor and the board executive committee.

Mark Burgess joined Energy Skills Australia in 2022 in the role of Government Liaison and Industry Engagement Officer. The board executives and Mr Taylor agreed that with his valuable knowledge and experience, and his track record as a strategic leader in the electrotechnology industry he is the best person to help Energy Skills Australia transition to the new reformed Australian VET sector.

“We are very excited to welcome Mark to our team at Energy Skills Australia. He brings a tighter focus on customer relationships between government and industry and will be a great role model for our employees and vendors who come into contact with him.” Mr Bob Taylor

Mark brings a wealth of industry and VET knowledge and experience to the Energy Skills Australia team. Having worked as an Electrician, predominantly in the large commercial and industrial sectors and through his role a National Apprenticeship Officer with the ETU from 2015 to 2021.

”Exciting times are ahead and I look forward to playing my part in ensuring we have an adaptive, highly skilled energy workforce as we transition to a clean economy.” Mr Mark Burgess.

Mark sits on various industry boards and committees in areas such as skills, training packages, licensing and trades recognition and is the Deputy Chair of the Electrotechnology IRC.

Mark has also worked closely with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on Global skills policy, such as the Apprenticeship Development for Universal Lifelong Learning and Training (ADULT) project.

Energy Skills Australia is the National Industry Skills Council for the energy sectors, including:

  • Electrotechnology
  • Electricity Transmission, Distribution and Rail
  • Electricity Generation
  • Gas Transmission

Providing industry stewardship, we exist to ensure Australia’s energy sectors have access to a highly skilled and effective workforce.

Media Contact: Mark Burgess 0438 732 301

July 9, 2021 Media release
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Jobs summit: Union strikes historic deal with industry on training and skills

Wooloomolloo, N.S.W., Sep. 1, 2022 /Medianet/ –

The Electrical Trades Union has formed a rare alliance with leading industry groups and key stakeholders on a new skills plan which is crucial to the nation’s energy transition.

In a major deal struck ahead of the Jobs and Skills Summit, the union has joined with contractor associations Master Electricians Australia and National Electrical and Communications Association, as well as the Clean Energy Council, Smart Energy Council and Rewiring Australia to launch the Powering Australia Skills Plan.

Without a steadfast skills and training plan, Australia will fail to meet its target of a 43 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030.

The Federal Government’s Powering Australia policy is an ambitious program designed to increase renewable energy generation to 82 per cent of overall demand by 2030.

It will create 63,000 Powering Australia jobs, facilitate the creation of a further 604,000 jobs across the economy and directly support 10,000 energy apprenticeships.

But none of this will be achieved without a comprehensive skills plan.

Apprentice completion rates have stalled at just 52 per cent amid unprecedented labour shortages in energy and other sectors.

Under the plan, an industry-owned and led Powering Australia Skills Cluster would be established to cover traditional energy training areas, as well as an expanded scope in emerging industries such as renewables, EV charging, the internet of things, advanced programming and hydrogen.

Separately, the Powering Australia Skills Plan would  create a dedicated Apprenticeship Support Network, to provide key mentoring and support services with a proven track record of boosting completion rates.

A recent survey of apprentices showed almost 90 per cent did not receive any mentoring during their apprenticeship and half received no support at all.

Between 2013 and 2015 E-Oz Energy Skills Australia ran a pilot program that achieved a 93 per cent retention rate up from an average of 62 per cent for the previous five years, showing the effectiveness of mentoring programs.

A dedicated, industry-led Power Australia Apprenticeship Support Network would deliver similar programs, as well as provide more advice on electives which are crucial to renewables training.

The alliance of key industry stakeholders also backed targeted wage subsidies for first- and second-year apprentices would boost intakes, noting the 50 per cent wage subsidy during Covid was an effective policy.

“This plan outlines how to provide good jobs during the energy transition. It will give government the social licence needed to end the climate wars,” ETU Acting National Secretary Michael Wright said.

“Powering Australia presents huge challenges with massive opportunities. If we get it wrong there could be dire consequences. But success will lead to hundreds of thousands of good jobs, lower energy prices and emissions reduction we can be proud of.”

“Unions and industry are on a unity ticket about the urgent need to address these major workforce challenges. Now we’ve struck a historic agreement on how to do it.

“This should be the Albanese Government’s blueprint on how to achieve its Powering Australia policy. Together we can transform the economy with benefits for workers, industry, households and the climate.”

The Powering Australia Skills Plan would also:

  • Provide dedicated funding for Powering Australia registered training organisations, including dedicated industry-led Skills Centres, equipped to train apprentices with 21st Century technology
  • Build diversity by supporting women, First Nations, and culturally and linguistically diverse workers to join the energy industry
  • Ensure workforce mobility through nationally consistent training and licensing
  • Ensure Australia is a “Nation of Excellence” by supporting migrating overseas tradespeople to achieve the same level of technical expertise and focus of the Powering Australia sector

Attributable to Oliver Judd, CEO National Electrical and Communications Association:

“The Powering Australia Skills Plan is a clear roadmap to attracting and even more importantly retaining the skills required to achieve the Governments ambitious goals to make Australia the leader in renewables internationally. It is our industries agreed  blueprint for success in providing a diverse and inclusive skilled workforce that will have rewarding and meaningful secure work both in the short and long term.

Attributable to John Grimes, Chief Executive of the Smart Energy Council:

“We have a smart energy skills crisis right now. We will have an even bigger crisis by 2030 unless we develop a comprehensive Powering Australia Skills Plan.

“The Smart Energy Council is very pleased to be working with trade unions and other industry bodies to ensure we have the right people in the right jobs, cutting emissions and building our smart energy future.”

Attributable to Saul Griffith, Rewiring Australia founder and chief scientist:

“Retrofitting Australian houses and businesses to drive electrification will require a lot of skilled jobs. We’re going to need more sparkies. Supporting apprentices and paying decent wages is critical, as is the industry working collaboratively. Rewiring Australia supports this joint initiative by the ETU and the industry.”

Attributable to Malcolm Richards, CEO of Master Electricians Australia:

“This plan provides us the platform to lead Australia into the future. This future will deliver inter-generational skills, jobs, and help develop new industries. It will secure our place as the world’s renewable energy shining light.

Attributable to Clean Energy Council Chief Executive, Kane Thornton:

“Electricians and other electrical workers represent as much as 20 per cent of the clean energy workforce, and this figure is even higher in technologies such as rooftop solar. With a five-fold increase in small-scale generation tipped by 2050, a skilled and available workforce will be critical to Australia’s electricity needs.

“This is why one of the six key recommendations within the Clean Energy Council’s Skilling the Energy Transition Report is to enhance the Vocational Education and Training Sector’s capacity to understand and meet the demands of industry.”

Contact details:

Michael Wright 0407 522 765

Matt Coughlan 0400 561 480