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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 has provided an estimated annual revenue of $15.49 billion, adding $3.97 billion to the Australian economy in 2019-20. The sector employs more than 15,950 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.

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

Employment trends

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 to around 9,100. Employment levels increased by more than a third during 2020, then decreased to 10,400 in 2021. The level is projected to increase to 19,000 by 2025.

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 8% until 2025. The occupation of Chemical, Gas, Petroleum and Power Generation Plant Operators make up around 4% of the workforce, and the employment level is projected to remain steady until 2025.

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 approximately 430 program enrolments in Gas industry-related qualifications during 2020 and around 60 program completions. Program enrolments remained fairly steady between 2016 and 2017 but declined in 2018 and again, sharply in 2019 before levelling off in 2020. Program completions have steadily decreased between 2016 and 2020. The proportion of subjects delivered as part of a nationally recognised program has gradually decreased over the past five years, declining from 86% in 2016 to 24% in 2020.

The majority of training in 2020 was for the Certificate III in Gas Supply Industry Operations (90%) with the intended occupation of Gasfitter. The Certificate IV in Gas Supply Industry Operations accounted for a further 5% of training, and also had the intended occupation of Gasfitter.

Most of the enrolments were with private training providers (98%) during 2020, with the remaining enrolments with enterprise providers. The funding source for subjects was split between Commonwealth and state funding (51%) and domestic fee for service (49%).

During 2020, around 58% of students who enrolled were from New South Wales, with a further 27% from Victoria and 9% from Queensland. Nearly 59% of all training was delivered in New South Wales, followed by Victoria (27%) and Queensland (10%).

Apprenticeship and traineeship commencements in Gas industry-related qualifications were generally less than 100 between 2011 and 2021, apart from a spike of approximately 510 commencements in 2015. Completions were similarly less than 100 over the period apart from 2015 (260 completions). Commencements increased substantially between 2019 and 2020 (from approximately 20 to 70 respectively). Completions nearly halved from around 26  in 2019 to 14 in 2020. All  apprentices and trainees were training towards the intended occupation of Gasfitter. In 2020, 54% of apprenticeships and traineeships were reported in New South Wales, followed by Victoria (20%) and Queensland (19%).

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

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 ,digital literacy, health and safety, 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 employers for workers in this industry were APA Group and Coregas Limited.

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.

The Gas IRC’s 2021 Industry Outlook continues the discussion on the trends discussed in the previous years, particularly in respect to hydrogen and other green technologies, automation and digitalisation, and cyber security. New and updated units of competency and skill sets have been or are being developed to enable workers in the gas industry to upskill or be trained in response to:

  • The operating platform for data recording is being standardised across utilities, and there is a need for data loggers to be qualified to install, disconnect, and reconnect these systems.
  • Hydrogen has the potential to be used as a biofuel in cars or in fuel cells as an alternative to batteries. The injection of hydrogen gas has been trialled at 10% volume replacement with natural gas without the need for changes to existing infrastructure.

The State of the Energy Market 2021 reports the gas market is undergoing a fundamental shift; identifying and encouraging the development of new sources of gas has become a primary focus as traditional sources decline. The First Low Emissions Technology Statement: 2020 for the Commonwealth Government Technology Investment Roadmap includes clean hydrogen and low carbon steel and aluminium in the five priority low emissions technologies identified. Low Emissions Technology Statement 2021, the second statement for the roadmap, indicates the government is investing in seven clean hydrogen industrial hubs to concentrate demand for hydrogen in one geographic region to reduce costs and enhance skills and training efforts, developing a voluntary zero emissions gas market to increase early demand for clean hydrogen and other zero emissions gases. The 2020 update to Gas Vision 2050 analyses different scenarios to achieve net-zero emissions and projected costs. The update highlights consumer demand for a clean energy future, and projects emissions reduction can be achieved through the use of biogas, hydrogen and carbon capture and storage.

The UEG Gas Supply Industry Skills: Case for Change states there is an existing and growing need for hydrogen specific competency within the gas industry, with workers requiring skills in hydrogen storage optimisation, repair and maintenance of hydrogen storage equipment, requirements for blending hydrogen with gas through gas distribution network, and use of control systems to monitor hydrogen in gas distribution networks. Specific examples provided include industry intelligence from Jemena, the company operating the Western Sydney Green Gas Project, that reported workers with generic skills were used but they needed further training in safety and competence, and that hydrogen behaved in a manner very different to other gases and that a basic awareness is the bare minimum requirement across the entire industry, moving to an expert knowledge depending on the job role. The Western Sydney Green Gas Project is co-funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), and is converting renewable electricity to hydrogen gas which can be blended and stored in Jemena’s gas distribution network to supply New South Wales homes and businesses. Under a new agreement with Coregas, Jemena will produce and supply green hydrogen from its Western Sydney plant for use by transport and industrial customers from early 2022.

It is reported in Australia’s Bioenergy Roadmap, that biomethane grid injection is one of the few options along with hydrogen to reduce emissions from Australia’s gas consumption. Biomethane has the benefit in the short term over hydrogen that there are already mature technologies available. Australia’s bioenergy sector could contribute around $10 billion in extra GDP per annum and 26,200 new jobs by the next decade. Bioenergy investment has the potential to support long-term regional employment, provide additional revenue streams for farmers as many of the bioenergy feedstocks come from agricultural activities, such as from sugarcane waste and the livestock industries, and ultimately national economic growth. Along with hydrogen, biogas upgraded to biomethane is an option discussed in Victoria’s Gas Substitution Roadmap consultation paper. Victoria has a high proportion of gas usage, and biomethane is chemically the same as methane, the principal component of natural gas, and so can replace gas wherever it is used today, whereas higher than 10% blending of hydrogen and natural gas requires some changes to pipelines, and widespread changes to appliances and meters.

The UEG Gas Supply Industry Skills: Case for Change also states that job roles are changing due to the introduction of new technologies and work practices, allowing cross skilling between roles and increasing workforce mobility. The traditional pipeline technician or operation roles are now blending with gas processing or storage roles, which will need to be reflected in the qualifications. Traditional operation and supervisory roles will also require added skills The Skills Priority List includes Gasfitter and Plumber (General) under occupations in national shortage, with moderate future demand.

Links and resources

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

IRC and skills forecasts

Gas IRC

 

Relevant research

Australia’s Bioenergy Roadmap – ENEA Consulting and Deloitte

First Low Emissions Technology Statement: 2020 – Australia. Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources

Gas Vision 2050: Delivering a Clean Energy Future – Energy Networks Australia

Help Build Victoria’s Gas Substitution Roadmap: Consultation Paper – Victoria State Government

Lower Emissions Technology Statement 2021 – Australia. Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources

Skills Priority List – National Skills Commission

State of the Energy Market 2021 – Australian Energy Regulator (AER

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

UEG Gas Supply Industry Skills: Case for Change- Australian Industry Standards

 

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

Transport Workers Union

Data sources and notes

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

  • by ANZSIC 2 digit Gas Supply industry, employment projections to May 2025
  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2025
    • 3341 Plumbers
    • 3992 Chemical, Gas, Petroleum and Power Generation Plant Operators.

 

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2021, 6291.0.55.001 - EQ06 - Employed persons by Industry group of main job (ANZSIC), Sex, State and Territory, November 1984 onwards, viewed 1 August 2021, https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/labour/employment-and-unemployment/labour-force-australia-detailed/may-2021

  • Employed total by ANZSIC 2 digit '27 Gas Supply', 2001 to 2021, 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
    • UEG20120 - 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
    • UEG30120 - 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
    • UEG40120 - Certificate IV in Gas Control Operations
    • UEG40220 - 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
    • UEG50120 - 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:

  • 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%.

UEG - Gas Industry 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.

 

Job vacancy data have been extracted from Burning Glass Technologies 2021, Labor Insight Real-time Labour Market Information Tool, Burning Glass Technologies, Boston, viewed July 2021, https://www.burning-glass.com.

Data shown represent most requested generic skills, occupations and employers according to internet job postings in Australia between July 2018and June 2021 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
    • 3999 Other Miscellaneous Technicians and Trades Workers
    • 8999 Other Miscellaneous Labourers
    • 3131 ICT Support Technicians
    • 27 Gas Supply.
Updated: 21 Jan 2022
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