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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 Generation, ESI Transmission, Distribution and Rail and Water sectors, please visit the respective pages.

Information sourced from the Gas IRC's 2019 Skills Forecast and the Gas IRC’s 2020 Skills Forecast (abridged annual update).

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

IRC and skills forecasts

IRCs now submit comprehensive Skills Forecasts to the AISC every 3 years, with abridged annual updates submitted in the intervening 2 years.

Gas IRC

Employment trends

Please note: any employment projections outlined below were calculated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics prior to COVID-19.

Employment snapshot

The employment level for the Gas Supply industry sector reached a peak of approximately 18,100 during 2014 and declined between 2014 and 2019. Employment levels increased between 2019 and 2020, from 9,100 in 2019 to 15,800 in 2020. The level is projected to decrease to 8,600 over the next four years until 2024.

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 by around 10% until 2024.

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 less than 450 program enrolments in the Gas industry training package during 2019 and approximately 100 program completions. Program enrolments remained fairly steady between 2015 and 2017 but declined slightly in 2018 and sharply in 2019. Program completions declined sharply between 2015 and 2016 and have steadily decreased between 2016 and 2019. The majority of training was for the Certificate III in Gas Supply Industry Operations (79%) and was for the intended occupation of Gasfitter. The proportion of subjects delivered as part of a nationally recognised program has gradually decreased over the past five years, with 96% in 2015 declining to 30% in 2019.

Most of the enrolments were with private training providers (90%). The funding source for subjects was split between Commonwealth and state funding (56%) and domestic fee for service (44%). Fifty-two per cent of students who enrolled during 2019 were from Victoria, with a further 40% from New South Wales and 5% from Queensland.

Just over half of all training was delivered in Victoria (52%), followed by 41% in New South Wales and 4% in Queensland.

Apprenticeship and traineeship commencements in the Gas industry training package were generally less than 100 between 2010 and 2019, apart from approximately 150 commencements in 2010 and close to 510 commencements in 2015. Completions were similarly less than 100 over the period apart from 2015 (260 completions). Commencements reduced by half between 2018 and 2019 (approximately 40 and 20 respectively). The majority of apprentices and trainees were training towards the intended occupation of Gasfitter. In 2019, 57% of apprenticeships and traineeships were reported in Victoria, followed by New South Wales (23%) and Queensland (11%).

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, computer literacy 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.
  • 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.

The Gas industry is being rapidly transformed by new technologies and automation. The Gas IRC’s 2020 Skills Forecast (Annual Update) details two industry workforce, skills developments or trends that are a priority for the next year:

  • Data-enabled digital technologies – it is a priority to build the skills of gas fitters and workers in the Gas Supply sector in processing information and data based applications with more organisations moving towards predictive asset management and digitalisation.
  • Hydrogen and safety issues – the workforce needs upskilling and retraining in hydrogen storage and safe handling to ensure the Australian Gas industry is able to maximise the emerging growth opportunities.

There is currently a great deal of interest in the potential of hydrogen gas, particularly its production using renewable resources, with industry organisations and the federal and state governments producing strategies on how to proceed (see Relevant research section below). The National Hydrogen Roadmap details several methods that are being trialled to enable the export of hydrogen. 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 short term 2020-2022 key technology challenges and opportunities identified in the Technology Investment Roadmap Discussion Paper released by the Australian Government include establishing hydrogen and developing technical leadership and the medium term (2023-2030) scaling hydrogen to achieve cost reductions and grow capability.

A report commissioned by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) examining the sensitivity of energy cost to configuration and the applicability of commercially available options for providing dispatchable electricity generation from renewable sources includes the use of bioenergy in the comparison of options. ARENA has funded many bioenergy and energy from waste projects since 2012, and a report undertaken by KPMG for Bioenergy Australia states bioenergy and bioproducts have the potential to be a significant growth sector that would particularly provide economic benefits to the agricultural industry and regional Australia. ARENA has invested in the production of a Bioenergy Roadmap at the request of the Federal government to inform the next series of investment and policy decisions in the bioenergy sector in Australia.

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 research, organisations and associations. Hyperlinks have been included where available.

Relevant research

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

Australian Hydrogen Hubs Study: Technical Study – Arup

Bioenergy State of the Nation Report – KPMG

Biogas Opportunities for Australia – ENEA Consulting

Comparison of Dispatchable Renewable Electricity Options –K. Lovegrove, G. James, D. Leitch, A. Milczarek, A. Ngo, J. Rutovitz, M. Watt, J. Wyder

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

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

South Australia's Hydrogen Action Plan – South Australia. Department for Energy and Mining

Tasmanian Renewable Hydrogen Action Plan – Tasmania. Department of State Growth

Technology Investment Roadmap Discussion Paper – Australia. Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources

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

 

Industry associations and advisory bodies

Australia New Zealand Industrial Gas Association

Australian Energy Council

Australian Gas Association

Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association

Australian Pipelines and Gas Association

Energy Networks Australia

Energy Skills Queensland

Future Energy Skills

Gas Appliance Manufacturers Association of Australia

Gas Energy Australia

Industry Skills Advisory Council NT

Utilities, Engineering, Electrical and Automotive Training Council

 

Licencing / Regulatory

Access Canberra

Australian Energy Regulator

Gas Technical Regulators Committee

 

Employee associations

Australian Workers Union (AWU)

Transport Workers Union

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment 2020, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal

  • by ANZSIC 2 digit Gas Supply industry, employment projections to May 2024
  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2024
    • 3341 Plumbers
    • 3992 Chemical, Gas, Petroleum and Power Generation Plant Operators.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2020, Employed persons by Occupation unit group of main job (ANZSCO), Sex, State and Territory, August 1986 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 - EQ08, viewed 1 August 2020 https://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/6291.0.55.003May%202020?OpenDocument

  • Employed total by ANZSIC 2 digit Gas Supply industry, 2000 to 2020, 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
    • UEG20118 - Certificate II in Gas Supply Industry Operations
    • UEG20211 - Certificate II in Gas Industry Pipeline Operations
    • UEG30114 - Certificate III in Gas Supply Industry Operations
    • UEG30118 - Certificate III in Gas Supply Industry Operations
    • UEG30211 - Certificate III in Gas Supply Industry Operations
    • UEG40106 - Certificate IV in Gas Industry Operations
    • UEG40114 - Certificate IV in Gas Supply Industry Operations
    • UEG40118 - Certificate IV in Gas Supply Industry Operations
    • UEG40311 - 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 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%.

UEG - Gas Industry 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 skills data have been extracted from the Gas IRC's 2019 Skills Forecast.

Job vacancy data have been extracted from Burning Glass Technologies 2020, Labour Insight Real-time Labour Market Information Tool, Burning Glass Technologies, Boston, viewed July 2020, https://www.burning-glass.com.

Data shown represent most requested generic skills, occupations and employers according to internet job postings in Australia between July 2017 and June 2020 filtered by ANZSIC and ANZSCO classification levels listed below.

  • Generic skills / Occupations
    • Labourers
    • Machinery Operators and Drivers
    • Technicians and Trades Workers
    • 27 Gas Supply.
  • Employers
    • 3129 Other Building and Engineering Technicians
    • 3121 Architectural, Building and Surveying Technicians
    • 3125 Mechanical Engineering Draftspersons and Technicians
    • 8999 Other Miscellaneous Labourers
    • 7331 Truck Drivers
    • 3131 ICT Support Technicians
    • 27 Gas Supply.
Updated: 30 Oct 2020
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