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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 Manufacturing Skills Australia Strategic Board Sub-committee IRC Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work 2017-2021.

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 13,000 program enrolments in the Sustainability Training Package during 2016 and just over 4,200 completions.  Both program enrolments and completions have decreased by over half between 2014 and 2016.  During 2016, the majority of enrolments were at the Certificate III and IV levels in Competitive Systems and Practices qualifications.  The main intended occupation for the training was Miscellaneous Technicians and Trades Workers (not further defined).

For enrolments during 2016, over 90% were with private training providers of which 56% of the subjects were government funded, with a further 43% funded via domestic fee for service.  Nearly half of students who enrolled during 2016 were from Victoria and a quarter from Western Australia.

During 2016, there were approximately 1,000 apprenticeship commencements and just over 1,100 completions in the Sustainability Training Package.  After increasing between 2010 and 2013 commencements fell sharply during 2014 and have continued to decline through until 2016.  Completions peaked in 2013 and have been declining year on year since.  Most apprentices were training towards the occupation of Miscellaneous Technicians and Trades Workers (not further defined) and nearly two thirds of apprenticeship training was located in Western Australia with most of the rest located in Victoria.

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

The IRC skills forecast identifies the following five skills as the most important for the next three to five years:

  • Customer/client relations/corporate social responsibility             
  • Problem solving               
  • Generic machine operations 
  • Social media/marketing                 
  • Design thinking and innovation management.

In addition, the following are five most important generic skills identified:

  • Managerial/Leadership
  • Environmental and Sustainability
  • Customer service/Marketing
  • Communication/Virtual collaboration/Social intelligence
  • Design mindset/Thinking critically/System thinking/Solving problems.

It can be seen that the two lists of skills above are quite broad, meaning that sustainability requires a variety of skills. 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 2015-2016 financial year (the latest data available), the greatest difference in proportion of 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.

Greening Technical and Vocational Education and Training – A practical guide for institutions is a guide for leaders of and practitioners of TVET institutes to improve their understanding of and also implement education for sustainable development. The guide takes a whole of institution approach and provides a step by step process for greening the institute.

 

 

 

Links and resources

Below is a list of industry-relevant organisations and associations. Hyperlinks have been included where available.

Industry associations and advisory bodies

Association for Sustainability in Business

Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council

Australian Sustainable Business Group

Centre for Sustainability Leadership

Getting to Sustainability

Sustainability Matters

Sustainable Business Australia

The Fifth Estate

 

Employee associations

Australian Manufacturing Workers Union

 

Relevant research

UNESCO/UNEVOC 2017 Greening Technical and Vocational Education and Training – A practical guide for institutions

Hatfield-Dodds, S., G. Turner, H. Schandl and T. Doss, 2008, Growing the green collar economy: Skills and labour challenges in reducing our greenhouse emissions and national environmental footprint. Report to the Dusseldorp Skills Forum, June 2008. CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, Canberra.

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 2015-2016, skills data cube, available at http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/8167.02015-16?OpenDocument, viewed 16th 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, MSA Manufacturing Training Package, MCM Competitive Manufacturing Training Package
    • 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
    • MSS40211 - Certificate IV in Environmental Monitoring and Technology
    • MSS40312 - Certificate IV in Competitive Systems and Practices
    • MSS40316 - Certificate IV in Competitive Systems and Practices
    • MSS50112 - Diploma of Sustainable Operations
    • MSS50211 - Diploma of Environmental Monitoring and Technology
    • 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
    • MSS70211 - Graduate Certificate in Environmental Management
    • MSS70312 - Graduate Certificate in Competitive Systems and Practices
    • MSS50216 - Diploma of Environmental Monitoring and Technology
    • MSA31108 - Certificate III in Competitive Manufacturing
    • MSA41108 - Certificate IV in Competitive Manufacturing
    • MSA51108 - Diploma of Competitive Manufacturing
    • MSA61108 - Advanced Diploma of Competitive Manufacturing
    • MSA71109 - Vocational Graduate Certificate in Competitive Manufacturing
    • MCM30104 - Certificate III in Competitive Manufacturing
    • MCM40104 - Certificate IV in Competitive Manufacturing
    • MSA50311 - Diploma of Production Management.

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 program enrolments
  • 2014, 2015, 2016 subject enrolments
  • 2014, 2015, 2016 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 apprentice and trainee data has been extracted from the National Apprentice and Trainee Collection, including:

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

Priority skills data have been extracted from the Manufacturing Skills Australia Strategic Board Sub-committee Industry Reference Committee’s 2017—2021 IRC Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work.

Updated: 15 Oct 2018
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