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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 2018 Skills Forecast.

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

IRC and skills forecasts

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

There were approximately 12,400 program enrolments in the Sustainability Training Package during 2017, and just over 4,000 completions. Both program enrolments and completions decreased by over 50% between 2014 and 2017. 

During 2017, the majority of enrolments were at the certificate III and IV levels in Competitive Systems and Practices qualifications (37% and 53%, respectively). The main intended occupation for the training was Miscellaneous Technicians and Trades Workers.

Nearly 90% of enrolments during 2017 were with private training providers. Funding for subjects was split fairly evenly between government (55%) and domestic fee-for-service (42%). Half of the students who enrolled during 2017 were from Victoria (50%), with a further quarter from Western Australia (26%).

During 2017, there were approximately 1,300 apprenticeship commencements and just over 1,400 completions in the Sustainability Training Package. 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. Completions peaked in 2013, then declined year on year until 2016, with an upturn in numbers during 2017. Most apprentices were training towards the intended occupation of Miscellaneous Technicians and Trades Workers. The majority of apprenticeship training activity during 2017 was reported in Western Australia (56%) or Victoria (29%).

For more data specific to your occupation, industry or training package, visit NCVER’s VET students by industry.

For more data specific to your region visit NCVER’s Atlas of Total VET. If you are prompted to log in, select cancel and you will continue to be directed to the program.

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

According to the Sustainability IRC's 2018 Skills Forecast, demand for skills in sustainable operations and environmental monitoring and technology will continue to grow, driven by legislation and consumer demands. Also, the need for greater efficiency, productivity, and sustainability in organisations will continue to drive demand for skills in competitive systems and practices.

The IRC skills forecast identified the following skill development priorities over the next three years:

  • identification, management and reporting of practices within supply chains
  • sustainable operations
  • energy use management and energy procurement
  • provision of advice on practices and options for maximising energy efficiency
  • changing skill needs arising from new forms of human–machine and machine–machine interaction.
  • data visualisation
  • maintenance planning.

In addition, the following generic skills were identified as most important:

  • Design mindset / Thinking critically / Systems thinking / Solving problems skills
  • Communication / Collaborations including virtual collaboration / Social intelligence skills
  • Data analysis skills
  • Managerial / Leadership skills
  • Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills.

The two lists of skills above are quite broad, indicating that sustainability requires a variety of skills and aptitudes. This can be shown through sustainability’s links to innovation.

While quite a few years old now, 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 provides data on skills used by innovating and non-innovating industries. For the 2015–16 financial year (the latest data available), the greatest difference in proportion between innovating and non-innovating businesses using these skills were:

  • Marketing
  • Information technology
  • Financial
  • Business management.

This list supports several of the skills identified by the IRC as being important.

The Environmental Sustainability Skills Cross-sector Project identified the following skills that 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 project developed a ‘case for change’, and recommended training package developments and modifications to address the identified cross-industry skill requirements.

Another useful resource for leaders/practitioners of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutes is the guide Greening Technical and Vocational Education and Training – A practical guide for institutions. The guide 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

Data on skills for innovation has been sourced from Australian Bureau of Statistics Catalogue 8167.0 – Selected characteristics of Australian Businesses 2015–16, skills data cube, available at <http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/8167.02015-16?OpenDocument>, viewed December 2017.

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
    • 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
    • MSS20312 - Certificate II in Competitive Systems and Practices
    • MSS20316 - Certificate II in 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
    • MSS50211 - Diploma of Environmental Monitoring and Technology
    • MSS50216 - Diploma of Environmental Monitoring and Technology
    • MSS70211 - Graduate Certificate in Environmental Management
    • MSS80216 - Graduate Certificate in Environmental Management
  • Production Management
    • MSA50311 - Diploma of Production Management
  • Sustainable Operations
    • MSS40111 - Certificate IV in Sustainable Operations
    • MSS40116 - Certificate IV in Sustainable Operations
    • MSS50111 - Diploma of Sustainable Operations
    • MSS50112 - Diploma of Sustainable Operations
    • MSS50116 - Diploma of Sustainable Operations
    • MSS70111 - Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Operations
    • MSS80116 - 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:

  • 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 program enrolments
  • 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 subject enrolments
  • 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 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 2017 commencements
  • 2010 to 2017 completions 
  • 2017 apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2017 collection, by qualification and state and territory of data submitter.

Priority and generic skills data have been extracted from the Sustainability IRC's 2018 Skills Forecast.

Updated: 06 Dec 2018
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