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Renewable and Sustainable Energy

Overview

This page provides information and data on the Renewable and Sustainable Energy sector, which is a component of the Electrotechnology industry.

The Renewable and Sustainable Energy sector includes the design, installation and maintenance of renewable energy systems and battery storage devices for both commercial and domestic markets.  The Renewable and Sustainable Energy sector workforce is employed in industries such as Construction Services and Electricity Supply.

Vocational education and training (VET) is required for Renewable and Sustainable Energy sector related occupations such as:

  • Electricians
  • Electrotechnology and Telecommunications Trades Workers.

Nationally recognised training for the Renewable and Sustainable Energy sector is delivered under the UEE – Electrotechnology Training Package.

For information on Electrical Services, Electrical Engineering, Industrial Control, Electronics and Computers, Refrigeration and Air-conditioning, ESI Generation, and ESI Transmission Distribution and Rail sectors please visit the respective pages.

Information sourced from the Electrotechnology IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast.

All data sources are available at the end of the page.

IRC and Skills Forecasts

Employment trends

Employment snapshot

The employment level for the occupation of Electricians has increased overall between 2000 and 2019, although a slight decline was recorded between 2018 and 2019. Employment levels are however expected to increase over the next five years until 2024. According to 2016 census data over half of Electricians are employed in the Construction Services industry with the rest being distributed through a range of other industries.

Training trends

Training snapshot

Program enrolments in Renewable and Sustainable Energy related qualifications have decreased by almost half since 2015, with approximately 500 program enrolments during 2018. Program completions peaked at 123 in 2017, then reduced back to 80 in 2018 which is generally in line with the 2016 figures.

During 2018, almost two thirds of enrolments were at a certificate IV level (65%) with the remaining occurring at the diploma or higher level (35%). All certificate IV level enrolments were in the Certificate IV in Electrical – Photovoltaic systems with the intended occupation of Electrician (General). Almost all diploma or higher level enrolments were in Engineering Technology – Renewable Energy (Advanced Diploma) with the sole intended occupation of Electrotechnology and Telecommunications Trades Workers.

For enrolments during 2018, the provider type varied between qualifications with TAFE institutes providing the majority of training for Engineering Technology – Renewable Energy (Advanced Diploma) (83%) and private trainer providers delivering a higher proportion of training for Certificate IV in Electrical – Photovoltaic systems (55%).

During 2018, a significant portion of subjects delivered by TAFE institutes were funded via international fee for service (82%), while most of the subject funding for private training providers was domestic fee for service (90%).

Almost three quarters of students who enrolled during 2018 were from Queensland (73%), with a further 19% coming from overseas.

The majority of training was delivered in Queensland (81%), with the remaining portion delivered overseas (19%).

There were insufficient enrolments in apprenticeships or traineeships to allow analysis.

For more data specific to your occupation, industry or training package, visit NCVER’s VET Students by Industry. If you are prompted to log in, select cancel and you will continue to be directed to the program.

For more data specific to your region visit NCVER’s Atlas of Total VET.

If you are interested in extracting NCVER data to construct tables with data relevant to you, sign up for a VOCSTATS account.

Industry insights

The Electrotechnology IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast reports that Australia has one of the highest rates of rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in the world, and the current 1.8 million residential PV systems is anticipated to double by the mid-2020s. Traditional consumers of power are now able to generate, store, and trade their own electricity. As storage solutions for renewable energy capture continue to diversify, become more efficient and cost effective, businesses and electrotechnology workers will need to be able to provide and maintain these new services for both domestic and commercial customers. In addition, there is already a reported shortage in qualified electricians who have the necessary skills for the installation and maintenance of solar systems.

The Environmental Scan 2015 by E-Oz Energy Skills Australia, also highlights the increasing saturation of homes and businesses with solar photovoltaics (PV) on their roofs. The implication of this, is that working on or around PV is no longer a niche area. The rise of the prosumer (a party that is both a producer and consumer of electricity) reflects a profound change in the way electricity networks operate, as decentralisation turns them into transaction platforms, rather than simply a delivery system. These continuing trends in the Renewable and Sustainable Energy sector will create demand for skills and competencies in the installation and maintenance of PV systems and battery storage technology.

According to the Electrotechnology IRC’s 2018 Skills Forecast the Australian Government’s announcement of the Clean Energy Innovation Fund will continue to drive this change to renewable energy technologies, and many new jobs are expected to emerge.  According to employers, there is already a shortage in Renewables Specialists, indicating that there is already a demand for skills in renewable and sustainable energy. In addition, the report Energy Efficiency Employment in Australia highlights that this sector is already large employer, as there are more full time equivalent (FTE) positions in energy efficiency than any other part of the energy sector in Australia. An article by Sophie Vorrath for Renew Economy also emphasises the growth in jobs in this sector, particularly in roof-top solar, which generated close to 6,500 FTE jobs in 2016/17, representing an increase of 860 FTE jobs for the year.

For an analysis of Electrotechnology IRC priority skills and job vacancy data, see the Electrotechnology industry cluster page.

Links and resources

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment, 2018, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal  

  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2023
    • 3411 Electricians.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018, Employed persons by Occupation unit group of main job (ANZSCO), Sex, State and Territory, August 1986 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 - EQ08, viewed 1 November 2018 http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/6291.0.55.003May%202018?OpenDocument

  • Employed total by ANZSCO 4 digit occupation, 2000 to 2018, May Quarter
    • 3411 Electricians.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, 2016 Census – employment, income and unpaid work, TableBuilder. Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data.

  • Employment level by 4 digit VET-related occupations, and 2 digit level industries to identify the distribution of VET-related occupation workforce across industry sectors.

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, Total VET Students and Courses from the following training package or qualifications:

UEE/UEE11 Electrotechnology Training Package

  • Advanced Diploma of Renewable Energy Engineering
    • UEE60911 - Advanced Diploma of Renewable Energy Engineering
  • Certificate II in Sustainable Energy
    • UEE22106 - Certificate II in Sustainable Energy (Career Start)
    • UEE22107 - Certificate II in Sustainable Energy (Career Start)
    • UEE22111 - Certificate II in Sustainable Energy (Career Start)
  • Certificate IV in Electrical - Photovoltaic systems
    • UEE42009 - Certificate IV in Electrical - Photovoltaic Systems
    • UEE42011 - Certificate IV in Electrical - Photovoltaic systems
  • Certificate IV in Renewable Energy / Certificate IV in Electrical - Renewable Energy
    • UEE41610 - Certificate IV in Renewable Energy
    • UEE41611 - Certificate IV in Renewable Energy
    • UEE41911 - Certificate IV in Electrical - Renewable Energy
  • Diploma of Renewable Energy Engineering
    • UEE50711 - Diploma of Renewable Energy Engineering
  • Engineering Technology - Renewable Energy (Advanced Diploma)
    • UEE62010 - Advanced Diploma of Engineering Technology - Renewable Energy
    • UEE62011 - Advanced Diploma of Engineering Technology - Renewable Energy.

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

Data covers a range of selected student and training characteristics in the following categories and years:

  • 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 program enrolments
  • 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 subject enrolments
  • 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 program completions.

Total VET students and courses data is reported for the calendar year. Program enrolments are the qualifications, courses and skill-sets in which students are enrolled in a given period. For students enrolled in multiple programs, all programs are counted. Program completion indicates that a student has completed a structured and integrated program of education or training. Location data uses student residence. Subject enrolment is registration of a student at a training delivery location for the purpose of undertaking a module, unit of competency or subject. For more information on the terms and definitions, please refer to the Total VET students and courses: terms and definitions document.

Low counts (less than 5) are not reported to protect client confidentiality.

Percentages are rounded to one decimal place. This can lead to situations where the total sum of proportions in a chart may not add up to exactly 100%.

UEE/UEE11 Electrotechnology Training Package apprentice and trainee data has been extracted from the National Apprentice and Trainee Collection, including:

  • 2010 to 2018 commencements
  • 2010 to 2018 completions 
  • 2018 apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2018 collection, by qualification and state and territory of data submitter.
Updated: 31 Mar 2020
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