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Overview

This page provides information and data on the Gas sector, which is one component of the Utilities industry.

The Gas sector in Australia was predicted to add $4.51 billion to the Australian economy in 2018–19. The industry employs more than 14,000 in the following four sub-sectors:

  • LPG bottling and storage
  • Retailing of gas
  • Transmission of gas
  • Distribution of gas.

Vocational education and training is required for occupations involved in:

  • Transmission and distribution of natural gas
  • Handling and packaging of LPG at terminals.

Nationally recognised training for Gas sector occupations is delivered under the UEG – Gas Industry Training Package. For more information on ESI GenerationESI Transmission, Distribution and Rail and Water sectors, please visit the respective pages.

Information sourced from the Gas 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 Gas Supply industry sector reached a peak of approximately 18,000 during 2014 and has declined since then. Employment levels in 2018 were at 13,400. The level is projected to fall further over the next 5 years until 2023.

Plumbers (including Gas Fitters) made up approximately 6% of the Gas Supply industry sector workforce. The employment level in this occupation is projected to increase over the next few years until 2023.

Please note: in the ANZSCO classification list Gas Fitters are categorised as a sub occupation of Plumbers (4 digit level). More detailed information and data on plumbing training and qualifications, are contained in the Construction cluster.

Training trends

Training snapshot

There were more than 1,310 program enrolments in the Gas industry training package during 2018 and approximately 170 program completions. Program enrolments remained fairly steady between 2015 and 2017 but declined slightly in 2018. Program completions have steadily decreased between 2016 and 2018. The majority of training was for the certificate III and IV in Gas Supply Industry Operations and was for the intended occupation of Gas Fitter.

Most of the enrolments were with private providers (82%). The funding source for subjects was split between government funding (49%) and domestic fee-for-service (52%). Forty-nine per cent of students who enrolled during 2018 were from Victoria, with a further 30% from Queensland and 19% from New South Wales.

Apprenticeship commencements in the Gas Industry training package were generally less than 100 between 2010 and 2018, apart from approximately 150 commencements in 2010 and close to 510 commencements in 2015. Apprenticeship completions were similarly less than 100 over the period apart from 2015 (260 completions). The majority of apprentices were training towards the intended occupation of Gas Fitter. More than 40% of apprenticeships and traineeships were reported in Victoria, followed by New South Wales (30%) and Queensland (21%).

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

As identified in the Gas IRC's 2019 Skills Forecast, the top priority skills required for the Gas sector are health and safety, digital literacy, compliance and operational skills in machine, plant systems. The top priority industry and occupation skills are commercial skills.

According to the job vacancy data, the top generic skills in demand are communication and planning skills. The top occupations in demand are Other Building and Engineering Technicians and Architectural, Building and Surveying Technicians.

The top generic skills listed in the Gas IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast in order of importance to the industry are:

  • Technology
  • Design mindset / Thinking critically / System thinking / Solving problems
  • Learning agility / Information literacy / Intellectual autonomy and self-management
  • Language, literacy and numeracy (LLN)
  • Communication / Virtual collaboration / Social intelligence.

The Gas Supply Industry is undergoing a period of technological change. Industry reports (see Relevant research section below) and the Gas IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast have identified this shift in technology, along with an increased focus on decarbonisation, as key challenges in skill development for the workforce.

The challenges and opportunities identified in the Gas IRC's 2019 Skills Forecast include:

  • New technologies and digital literacy: Digital technologies including robotics, wireless sensor technology, remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS), artificial intelligence and machine learning will require the workforce to upskill especially in data analytics, robotics, and remote operations to enhance their technological capacities. RPAS technology is increasingly used for pipeline patrolling, enabling survey capability in remote or inaccessible locations and reducing safety risks and survey durations. Recent advancements in gas processing and gas control systems has led to a change in required skill needs of gas technicians and gas controllers. New technology is also making the sector more accessible to women.
  • Cybersecurity: The unique nature of the Gas industry and technologies such as big data, automation, digital sensors, and remote operations can expose the industry to growing cyber security risks. It is imperative to have a tailored cyber security training program not only to inform the workforce of the nature and examples of the Gas industry cyberattacks, but also give them the skills and competencies to be able to resolve them.
  • Demand for gas energy supplies: Increasing domestic and commercial demand will impose greater stress on gas infrastructure, potentially increasing the frequency of emergency incidents. While the Training Package addresses skill needs for routine repairs and many gas suppliers undertake enterprise-specific training, the skills required for conducting repairs under emergency conditions should also be included in the Training Package.
  • Green energy and sustainability: Decarbonisation to meet emissions targets is driving change within the sector. New innovations include biogas, carbon capture and storage (CCS) and hydrogen. Hydrogen offers enormous opportunities with Australia an ideal place for its production at an industrial scale. The workforce will need the appropriate technical skills, training and accreditation programs, especially in hydrogen storage and safe handling, to fully benefit from the opportunities.
  • Soft skills: Nontechnical skills including teamwork, problem-solving, creativity, critical thinking and emotional intelligence, and lifelong learning have been identified as integral to a resilient workforce ready to adapt to change.

There is currently a great deal of interest in the potential of hydrogen gas, with industry organisations and the federal and state governments producing strategies on how to proceed (see Relevant research section below). The Energy Networks Australia Gas Vision 2050 report and supporting research outline the potential and challenges the sector may experience in bringing new fuels into the mainstream as part of decarbonisation goals.

The Gas IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast highlighted skills shortages in occupations such as Tanker drivers (dangerous goods), Gas main and service layers, Engineers, Servicing and maintenance, and Managers. Reasons for these shortages are cost/time to achieve the required qualification, an ageing workforce with current staff retiring, an unattractive job and industry image, competition from other organisations and geographic location of the vacancy. Employment is expected to grow by 3.2% to 2024.

Links and resources

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

Industry associations and advisory bodies

Access Canberra

Australia New Zealand Industrial Gas Association

Australian Energy Council

Australian Energy Regulator

Australian Gas Association

Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association

Australian Pipelines and Gas Association

Energy Networks Australia

Energy Skills Queensland

Energy Skills SA

Future Energy Skills

Gas Appliance Manufacturers Association of Australia

Gas Energy Australia

Gas Technical Regulators Committee

Industry Skills Advisory Council NT

Utilities, Engineering, Electrical and Automotive Training Council

 

Employee associations

Australian Workers Union

Transport Workers Union

 

Relevant research

A Hydrogen Roadmap for South Australia – Department of the Premier and Cabinet

Bioenergy State of the Nation Report – KPMG

Biogas Opportunities for Australia – ENEA Consulting

National Hydrogen Roadmap – Bruce S, Temminghoff M, Hayward J, Schmidt E, Munnings C, Palfreyman D, Hartley P.

National Hydrogen Strategy – COAG Energy Council Hydrogen Working Group

Queensland CSG to LNG Industry Workforce Plan 2014–2034 – Energy Skills Queensland

Queensland Hydrogen Industry Strategy 2019-2024 – Queensland. Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning

Western Australian Renewable Hydrogen Strategy – Western Australia. Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development

Data sources and notes

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

  • by ANZSIC 2 digit Gas Supply industry, employment projections to May 2023
  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2023
    • 3341 Plumbers
    • 3992 Chemical, Gas, Petroleum and Power Generation Plant Operators.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018, Employed persons by Industry group of main job (ANZSIC), sex, state and territory, November 1984 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 - EQ06, viewed 1 November 2018 http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/6291.0.55.003May%202018?OpenDocument .

  • Employed total by ANZSIC 2 digit Gas Supply industry, 2000 to 2018, May Quarter.

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

  • Employment level by 2 digit Gas Supply industry, and 4 digit level occupations to identify the relevant VET-related occupations in the industry as a proportion of the total workforce.

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

  • UEG Gas Industry Training Package.
  • Gas Supply Industry Operations
    • UEG20114 - Certificate II in Gas Supply Industry Operations
    • UEG20211 - Certificate II in Gas Industry Pipeline Operations
    • UEG20118 - Certificate II in Gas Supply Industry Operations
    • UEG30114 - Certificate III in Gas Supply Industry Operations
    • UEG30211 - Certificate III in Gas Supply Industry Operations
    • UEG30118 - Certificate III in Gas Supply Industry Operations
    • UEG40106 - Certificate IV in Gas Industry Operations
    • UEG40114 - Certificate IV in Gas Supply Industry Operations
    • UEG40311 - Certificate IV in Gas Supply Industry Operations
    • UEG40118 - Certificate IV in Gas Supply Industry Operations
    • UEG50114 - Diploma of Gas Supply Industry Operations
    • UEG50118 - Diploma of Gas Supply Industry 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, 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%.

UEG - Gas Industry 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.

Priority skills data have been extracted from the Gas IRC's 2018 Skills Forecast 2019.

Job vacancy data have been extracted from Burning Glass Technologies 2019, Labour Insight Real-time Labour Market Information Tool, Burning Glass Technologies, Boston, viewed July 2019, https://www.burning-glass.com.

Data shown represent most requested generic skills, occupations and employers according to internet job postings in Australia between July 2016 and June 2019 filtered by ANZSIC and ANZSCO classification levels listed below.

  • Generic skills / Occupations
    • Labourers
    • Machinery Operators and Drivers
    • Technicians and Trades Workers
    • 27 Gas Supply.
Updated: 01 Nov 2019
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