The size and nature of the workforce challenge

The transition to a clean economy requires expansion of the workforce.

Clean economy workforce

The transition to a clean economy requires expansion of a long-term and stable workforce and significant shifts in occupations and skills. New technologies and work practices require existing workforces to acquire new skills, and new roles will emerge. Demand for many existing occupations will grow, particularly through construction phases of new energy projects. Skills for these occupations are evolving in line with automation and digitisation trends.

Gas is no longer the cheap fuel it once was and as households transition to cheaper renewable energy a large, skilled workforce will be needed to retrofit homes.

Conservative estimates expect around 10,000 additional jobs per year from now until 2030 as a result of investments in renewables across solar, battery storage and wind directed to meeting Victoria’s renewable energy and storage targets (Premier of Victoria (2023) Victoria’s Clean Economy Workforce Driving Net-Zero(opens in a new window) June).

The government’s circular economy policy, Recycling Victoria: a new economy(opens in a new window), will transform how the economy uses, reuses, repairs and recycles. It includes targets to divert 80% of waste from landfill by 2030 (with an interim target of 72% by 2025) and cut total waste generation by 15% per capita by 2030. The transition to a circular economy is expected to create more than 3,900 new jobs and establish new skills in design, repair efficiency and materials usage across the state (Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (2020), Recycling Victoria A new economy, February).

There is a need to skill the workforce for climate adaptation and climate mitigation, to support Victoria’s resilience to manage the current and future effects of climate change. New specialist occupations will be created in areas such as battery storage, energy auditing and energy efficiency. Workers with related skills will likely take up the roles and further develop the necessary knowledge and skills. The qualifications system – VET and higher education – will then need to develop formal responses in parallel.