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Renewable and Sustainable Energy

Overview

This page provides information and data on the Renewable and Sustainable Energy sector, which is a component of the Electrotechnology industry.

The Renewable and Sustainable Energy sector includes the design, installation and maintenance of renewable energy systems and battery storage devices for both commercial and domestic markets.  The Renewable and Sustainable Energy sector workforce is employed in industries such as Construction Services and Electricity Supply.

Vocational education and training (VET) is required for Renewable and Sustainable Energy sector related occupations such as:

  • Electricians
  • Electrotechnology and Telecommunications Trades Workers.

Nationally recognised training for the Renewable and Sustainable Energy sector is delivered under the UEE – Electrotechnology Training Package.

For information on Electrical Engineering, Electrical Services, Electronics and Computers, Industrial Control, Refrigeration and Air-conditioning, ESI Generation, and ESI Transmission Distribution and Rail sectors please visit the respective pages.

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

Employment trends

Employment snapshot

The employment level for the occupation of Electricians has more than doubled since 2001, and although there have been fluctuations since then levels have increased to a peak in 2021 of 169,300. Employment levels are however expected to decrease over the next four years until 2025. According to 2016 census data over half of Electricians are employed in the Construction Services industry with the rest being distributed through a range of other industries.

Training trends

Training snapshot

Program enrolments in Renewable and Sustainable Energy related qualifications have decreased by over two thirds since 2016, with approximately 190 program enrolments during 2020. Program completions have fluctuated during this time, and have decreased to just under 90 in 2020.

During 2020, the majority of enrolments were at the diploma or higher level (94%) with the remaining occurring at the certificate II level (6%). All diploma and higher level enrolments were in Engineering Technology – Renewable Energy (Advanced Diploma) with the sole intended occupation of Electrotechnology and Telecommunications Trades Workers. In addition, all certificate II level enrolments were in the Certificate II in Sustainable Energy with the intended occupation of Electrical or Telecommunications Trades Assistant.

TAFE institutes provided the majority of the training for enrolments in Renewable and Sustainable Energy related qualifications in 2020 (73%). While TAFE provided all the training for Certificate II in Sustainable Energy at 100%, it only provided 71% of training in Engineering Technology - Renewable Energy (Advanced Diploma), with private training providers the remainder at 29%.

During 2020, 98% of subjects delivered by TAFE institutes were funded via international fee for service, while 100% of subject funding for private training providers was domestic fee for service.

Over two thirds of students who enrolled during 2020 were from overseas (67%), while Queensland made up most of the remaining portion at 32%. Similarly, training was predominantly delivered overseas (67%) and in Queensland (33%).

There were insufficient enrolments in apprenticeships or traineeships to allow analysis.

For more data specific to your occupation, industry group or training package, visit NCVER’s Data Builder.

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

As the rate of solar installation continues to grow in Australia and advancements are made in related technologies, the skills needed by Electrotechnology workers must also evolve. Renewable technologies are predicted to create more than 60,000 jobs over the next ten years, and workers will require the necessary skills for the installation and maintenance of solar systems. However, as noted in the Electrotechnology IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast, there is already a reported shortage of qualified electricians who have the necessary skills for the installation and maintenance of solar systems.

According to a recent survey by the Institute for Sustainable Futures and commissioned by the Clean Energy Council, in 2019 at least 25,000 people were employed across renewable energy supply chains and almost 10,000 of those were in rooftop solar. Although construction and installation jobs now dominate the renewable energy labour market, by 2035 as many as half of renewable energy jobs could be ongoing jobs in operation and maintenance and around 75 per cent of renewable energy job opportunities could be distributed across regional and rural Australia.

Further highlighting the growth of the renewable energy industry, is the Clean Energy Australia Report 2021 which identifies that in 2020 more than 27 per cent of Australia’s electricity came from clean energy sources, with wind and rooftop solar leading the way. A further 76 large-scale wind and solar projects were under construction at the end of 2020, representing more than 8 GW of new capacity and employing over 9000 Australian workers. The Climate Council of Australia’s Clean Jobs Plan provides twelve policy opportunities to deliver 76,000 jobs that re-engineer our energy system, renew industries and restore our environment after bushfires and COVID-19.

Of the approaches used to build a workforce equipped with the skills required, the Project Agreement for Energising Tasmania provides an example. This agreement has set out to generate the capability of Tasmania’s workforce with the priority skills needed to support the Battery of the Nation initiative, predominantly through development of a range of new funds and setup of a advisory group.

A second example is Victoria’s Federation University building a wind turbine training tower with the aim of preparing students for employment in the renewable sector. With the build expected to be completed in late 2021, the 23m training tower will simulate the features of a working turbine with the capacity for 350 students to learn real-life skills each year.

Research conducted into what is required to grow and sustain the Hydrogen industry in Australia revealed that a large-scale Hydrogen production, transport and export industry, will require a mix of new roles - necessitated by the introduction of new technologies, and traditional roles that have been a part of the LNG/CSG industries. Specialist skills that will support the hydrogen industry, in the areas of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, chemistry and physics will have to be maintained and expanded to meet the growing demand.

For an analysis of Electrotechnology IRC priority skills and job vacancy data, see the Electrotechnology industry cluster page.

Links and resources

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

IRC and skills forecasts

Electrotechnology IRC

 

Relevant research

Australia's First Training Wind Turbine Ballarat-Bound – Energy Magazine

Clean Energy Australia Report 2021 – Clean Energy Council

Clean Jobs Plan: How 76,000 New Jobs for Australians Can Help Rebuild Our Economy Now and Tackle Climate Change - Climate Council of Australia

Energy Efficiency Employment in Australia – Green Energy Markets for the Energy Efficiency Council and the Energy Savings Industry Association 2019

Interim Research Report: Hydrogen Industry - Job Roles, Skills, Qualifications and Experience – Energy Skills Queensland

Renewable Energy Jobs in Australia: Stage One - Institute for Sustainable Futures

Renewables Job Numbers Hit Three-Year High – Led by Australia’s Coal States – Sophie Vorrath for Renew Economy

 

Industry associations and advisory bodies

ANZETA Electrotechnology Training Alliance

Clean Energy Council

Energy Skills Queensland

Future Energy Skills

Master Electricians Australia

National Electrical and Communications Association

NSW Utilities & Electrotechnology Industry Training Advisory Body

Smart Energy Council

 

Regulatory bodies

Clean Energy Regulator

Electrical Regulatory Authorities Council

Electrical Safety Office QLD

Energy Safe Victoria

NT WorkSafe

Safe Work Australia

SafeWork SA

SafeWork NSW

Worksafe Tasmania

 

Employee associations

Communications Electrical Plumbing Union

Electrical Trades Union

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment, 2021, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal  

  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2025
    • 3411 Electricians.

 

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2021, 6291.0.55.001 - EQ08 - Employed persons by Occupation unit group of main job (ANZSCO), Sex, State and Territory, August 1986 onwards, viewed 1 August 2021 https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/labour/employment-and-unemployment/labour-force-australia-detailed/may-2021

  • Employed total by ANZSCO 4 digit occupation, 2001 to 2021, May Quarter
    • 3411 Electricians.

 

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

  • Employment level by 4 digit VET-related occupations, and 2 digit level industries to identify the distribution of VET-related occupation workforce across industry sectors.

                                                                                                                                               

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

UEE/UEE11 Electrotechnology Training Package

  • Advanced Diploma of Renewable Energy Engineering
    • UEE60911 - Advanced Diploma of Renewable Energy Engineering
    • UEE60920 - Advanced Diploma of Renewable Energy Engineering.
  • Certificate II in Sustainable Energy
    • UEE22106 - Certificate II in Sustainable Energy (Career Start)
    • UEE22107 - Certificate II in Sustainable Energy (Career Start)
    • UEE22111 - Certificate II in Sustainable Energy (Career Start)
    • UEE22120 - Certificate II in Sustainable Energy (Career Start).
  • Certificate  III in Renewable Energy – ELV
    • UEE32011 - Certificate III in Renewable Energy – ELV
    • UEE32020 - Certificate III in Renewable Energy – ELV.
  • Certificate IV in Electrical - Photovoltaic systems
    • UEE42009 - Certificate IV in Electrical - Photovoltaic Systems
    • UEE42011 - Certificate IV in Electrical - Photovoltaic systems
    • UEE42020 - Certificate IV in Electrical - Photovoltaic Systems.
  • Certificate IV in Energy Efficiency and Assessment
    • UEE43111 - Certificate IV in Energy Efficiency and Assessment
    • UEE43120 - Certificate IV in Energy Efficiency and Assessment.
  • Certificate IV in Renewable Energy / Certificate IV in Electrical - Renewable Energy
    • UEE41610 - Certificate IV in Renewable Energy
    • UEE41611 - Certificate IV in Renewable Energy
    • UEE41620 - Certificate IV in Renewable Energy
    • UEE41911 - Certificate IV in Electrical - Renewable Energy
    • UEE41920 - Certificate IV in Electrical - Renewable Energy.
  • Diploma of Renewable Energy Engineering
    • UEE50711 - Diploma of Renewable Energy Engineering
    • UEE50720 - Diploma of Renewable Energy Engineering.
  • Engineering Technology - Renewable Energy (Advanced Diploma)
    • UEE62010 - Advanced Diploma of Engineering Technology - Renewable Energy
    • UEE62011 - Advanced Diploma of Engineering Technology - Renewable Energy
    • UEE62020 - Advanced Diploma of Engineering Technology - Renewable Energy.

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

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

  • 2016 to 2020 program enrolments
  • 2016 to 2020 subject enrolments
  • 2016 to 2020 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%.

UEE/UEE11 Electrotechnology Training Package apprentice and trainee data has been extracted from the National Apprentice and Trainee Collection, including:

  • 2011 to 2020 commencements
  • 2011 to 2020 completions
  • apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2020 collection, by qualification and state and territory of data submitter.
Updated: 28 Oct 2021
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