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Overview

This page provides information and data on Sustainability which covers a set of cross industry systems and practices.

Sustainability is a broad term used to cover a set of cross industry business and environmental practices, aimed at improving the long-term viability of businesses. While Sustainability is not an industry sector, sustainable business practices are becoming increasingly common place across most industries. Sustainability aims to benefit businesses and the environment by improving productivity and efficiency through embedding sustainable operations, environmental monitoring and technology, and competitive systems and practices. There are many areas a business might achieve sustainability improvements, for example, low cost energy, water-saving devices and behavioural change can have a high impact.

Vocational education and training (VET) is required for Sustainability-related occupations such as:

  • Management and Organisation Analysts
  • Engineering Production Workers.

Nationally recognised training for Sustainability is delivered under the MSS – Sustainability Training Package.

Information sourced from the Sustainability IRC's 2019 Skills Forecast.

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

IRC and skills forecasts

 

The Sustainability IRC was not required to submit an annual update to their 2019 Skills Forecast during 2020. As such, the version published in 2019 remains the most recently published Skills Forecast for this industry.

Employment trends

As Sustainability is not an industry in its own right, there is insufficient data on employment to provide an analysis of employment trends.

Training trends

Training snapshot

Program enrolments in Sustainability-related qualifications have declined three-fold since 2015, to 5,200 in 2019. Similarly, program completions have also declined significantly from nearly 6,400 completions in 2015 to nearly 1,810 in 2019. During 2019, most program enrolments were at Certificate III and above levels, with nearly half (49%) at the Certificate IV level, and 92% were in Competitive Systems and Practices. The main intended occupation for the training was Miscellaneous Technicians and Trades Workers.

Approximately 88% of enrolments during 2019 were reported by private training providers, with remaining enrolments reported by TAFE institutes (9%) and universities (3%). Funding for subjects was predominantly Commonwealth and state government-funded (71%), with the remaining funded through domestic or international fee for service arrangements (21% and 8% respectively).

Nearly 60% of students who enrolled during 2019 were from Victoria (59%), followed by 12% from Queensland, 9% from New South Wales, and 8% from Western Australia. Similarly, 59% of training was delivered in Victoria, 15% in Queensland, 10% in New South Wales, and 9% in Western Australia.

Throughout 2019, there were approximately 530 apprenticeship and traineeship commencements and approximately 480 completions. After increasing between 2010 and 2013, commencements fell sharply during 2014 and continued to decline through until 2016, however 2017 saw an increase on the previous year before declining again in 2018. Completions peaked in 2013, then declined year on year until 2017, when completions rose, before declining in 2018 and 2019. All training was for the intended occupation of Miscellaneous Technicians and Trades Workers. The majority of apprenticeship training activity during 2019 was reported by Victoria (62%), followed by Western Australia (23%) and Tasmania (8%).

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

Industry insights on skills needs

The Sustainability IRC's 2019 Skills Forecast identified skills to meet emerging technological changes in competitive systems and practices, skills to address emerging job roles in environmental monitoring and technology, and generic skills, such as problem solving, design thinking, leadership, change management and innovation management as priority areas for skill development. The workforce challenges and opportunities driving these new and emerging skill development priorities include:

  • Energy – costs and energy security, and major projects in renewable energy, with New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia adopting long-term objectives for achieving net-zero emissions through energy efficiency and renewable sources
  • The rise of the circular economy – new state and commonwealth government strategies for waste management have prompted an increased focus on circular economy principles and practice
  • Technology changes – primarily influenced by trends around Industry 4.0, changes include automation, monitoring, and digitalisation with a shift from the skills needed for collection to those needed for interpretation, communication and development of new solutions to problems
  • Advanced and sustainable manufacturing – practices manufacturers need to adopt to remain competitive include: new business models to remain competitive involving: design services, the manufacture of superior components and innovative products; bundling products with ongoing services; sustainable manufacturing and the manufacture of sustainable products; global value chains with exposure to new technologies, processes and skills
  • Increasing demand for micro-credentials and modular learning – training that has the potential to address rapidly changing training and skill needs, particularly to support upskilling in competencies that are secondary to the employee's core role.

Supporting those identified by the Sustainability IRC, the Environmental Sustainability Skills Cross-sector Project found the following skills are shared by multiple industry sectors in relation to environmental sustainability:

  • Environmentally sustainable production methods and energy management
  • Natural resource management and waste handling
  • Consumer/market driven environmental sustainability practices.

The skills identified above are quite broad, indicating that sustainability requires a variety of skills and aptitudes. This can be shown through sustainability’s links to innovation. The report Growing the Green Collar Economy discussed innovation as one mechanism to move to a more environmentally sustainable environment. More broadly, incremental innovation is a way to improve resource or process efficiency.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics provided data on skills used by innovating and non-innovating industries during the 2017–18 financial year. This data indicated that the greatest difference between innovating and non-innovating businesses, related to the proportional use of the following skills:

  • Marketing
  • Information technology
  • Financial
  • Business management.

The guide Greening Technical and Vocational Education and Training – A Practical Guide for Institutions aims to improve the understanding of sustainable development and provides suggestions on the implementation of education strategies for sustainability training. It takes a whole of institution approach and provides a step by step process for greening the organisation.

Links and resources

Data sources and notes

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

  • MSS Sustainability Training Package and MSA Manufacturing Training Package.
  • Competitive Systems and Practices
    • MSS20312 - Certificate II in Competitive Systems and Practices
    • MSS20316 - Certificate II in Competitive Systems and Practices
    • MSS30312 - Certificate III in Competitive Systems and Practices
    • MSS30316 - Certificate III in Competitive Systems and Practices
    • MSS40312 - Certificate IV in Competitive Systems and Practices
    • MSS40316 - Certificate IV in Competitive Systems and Practices
    • MSS50312 - Diploma of Competitive Systems and Practices
    • MSS50316 - Diploma of Competitive Systems and Practices
    • MSS60312 - Advanced Diploma of Competitive Systems and Practices
    • MSS60316 - Advanced Diploma of Competitive Systems and Practices
    • MSS70312 - Graduate Certificate in Competitive Systems and Practices
    • MSS80312 - Graduate Diploma of Competitive Systems and Practices
    • MSS80316 - Graduate Certificate in Competitive Systems and Practices
    • MSS80416 - Graduate Diploma of Competitive Systems and Practices.
  • Environmental Monitoring and Technology, and Environmental Management
    • MSS40211 - Certificate IV in Environmental Monitoring and Technology
    • MSS40216 - Certificate IV in Environmental Monitoring and Technology
    • MSS40218 - Certificate IV in Environmental Monitoring and Technology
    • MSS50211 - Diploma of Environmental Monitoring and Technology
    • MSS50216 - Diploma of Environmental Monitoring and Technology
    • MSS50218 - Diploma of Environmental Monitoring and Technology
    • MSS70211 - Graduate Certificate in Environmental Management
    • MSS80216 - Graduate Certificate in Environmental Management
    • MSS80218 - Graduate Certificate in Environmental Management.
  • Sustainable Operations
    • MSS40111 - Certificate IV in Sustainable Operations
    • MSS40116 - Certificate IV in Sustainable Operations
    • MSS40118 - Certificate IV in Sustainable Operations
    • MSS50111 - Diploma of Sustainable Operations
    • MSS50112 - Diploma of Sustainable Operations
    • MSS50116 - Diploma of Sustainable Operations
    • MSS50118 - Diploma of Sustainable Operations
    • MSS70111 - Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Operations
    • MSS80116 - Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Operations
    • MSS80118 - Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Operations.

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

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

  • 2015 to 2019 program enrolments
  • 2015 to 2019 subject enrolments
  • 2015 to 2019 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%.

MSS – Sustainability Training Package and MSA – Manufacturing Training Package apprentice and trainee data has been extracted from the National Apprentice and Trainee Collection, including:

  • 2010 to 2019 commencements
  • 2010 to 2019 completions
  • 2019 apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2019 collection, by qualification and state and territory of data submitter.

Priority and generic skills data have been extracted from the Sustainability IRC's 2019 Skills Forecast.

Updated: 15 Dec 2020
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