Action 6: Build skills to support Victoria’s clean economy intentions

Over the next three years, we will:

  • Further develop Victoria-wide project-based workforce planning tools to provide insights to education and training sectors to inform skills delivery planning.
  • Embed Clean Economy Workforce Priorities identified in the strategy into future skills plans.
  • Develop innovative approaches in conjunction with the Office of TAFE Coordination and Delivery, to scope and deliver programs for new clean economy skills.

Victoria’s workforce needs new skills and capabilities to enable the state to achieve its targets of halving emissions by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050. Most aspects of economic activity will be transformed in response to the targets and as global markets demand lower emissions throughout production supply chains.

The skills system needs to adapt so it can deliver the number of skilled workers when they are needed. For many existing workers, this will mean building on their current trade qualifications, particularly electro-technology qualifications. ‘Clean economy’ skills – for renewable energy, the circular economy and climate adaptation - will need to be built into qualifications for initial vocational education so new entrants to sectors are well placed to support adaptation and new opportunities that will arise from clean economy responses.

Clean economy aspirations are expected to flow through most parts of the economy and industry. In addition to the rapid move to renewable energy sources, reductions in carbon emissions result from adaptations in production processes and a new focus on the circular economy.

The Government has established the Clean Economy Workforce Skills and Jobs Taskforce to identify the skills and workforce required to support the major clean economy pivot across industry and society over the next 30 years.

The Clean Economy Workforce Development Strategy, due for release in the next six months, will outline priorities for schooling, TAFE and training and higher education providers to empower businesses, workers and households to take up the de-carbonisation challenge.

Investors and businesses told the VSA they are already factoring in the risks of inaction in adaptation and abatement and that there is an immediate need for new skills.

Modelling shows the workforce impact of clean energy projects points to new skills being required across Victoria, particularly in regional areas as new forms of energy generation, transmission and distribution are put in place.

As with most change and innovation across industries, leadership will be key.

Employees in new and changing industries will need to build appropriate contemporary skills. New services to facilitate change across supply chains and within companies will be critical and have unique education and skilling needs.

Employees in industries transitioning away from heavy emissions need support and reskilling as they take up the new roles or move to other industries with jobs in demand.

The extent of this change needs a structured approach to workforce development, which will be outlined as part of the strategy.

The government’s investment in skills directed to these outcomes will become a priority for future skills plans.

Case study

Partnering for the winds of change

New skills and capabilities will be required in the workforce to achieve Victoria’s targets of halving emissions by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050.

Communities need to re-gear for a lower carbon future. Households need to reduce waste and recycle.

Australia’s first wind turbine training tower will help Federation University train skilled workers for Victoria’s fast-growing clean energy sector.

The 23-metre tower is the first stage of the Asia Pacific Renewable Energy Training Centre (APRETC) – a partnership between Federation University and the renewable energy industry.

It is a $1.8 million project funded by Vestas, ACCIONA, GPG and Tilt Renewables to allow the companies to train workers at heights in a simulated wind turbine in Ballarat.

The project was made possible by the first Victorian Renewable Energy Target Auction, which mandated strong local content and training requirements from projects to produce the skilled workforce that the industry needs, as it rolls out and maintains renewable energy projects across Victoria.

Federation University Pro Vice-Chancellor – Vocational Education and Training, Liam Sloan, says the facility will provide training to workers wanting to get involved in the construction and maintenance of wind turbines.

“Industry spoke and we listened – with this new tower, some of the industry’s biggest renewable energy companies can now train wind turbine technicians in Ballarat instead of using fly-in, fly-out workers.”

Federation University will start delivering Global Wind Organisation Standard Basic Safety Training and Basic Refresher Training in the second half of 2022.