Climate jobs campaign warns skills shortage threatens energy transition

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Careers for Net Zero, a joint campaign led by the Clean Energy Council (CEC) and the Energy Efficiency Council (EEC), has warned that Australia must urgently upskill its workforce to achieve its clean energy ambitions and realise its potential as a renewable energy superpower.

Globally, it’s estimated the renewable energy transition will create 14 million new clean energy jobs by 2030, while another 16 million workers will need to move into new roles in renewables, energy efficiency and electrification.

In Australia, the recent Jobs and Skills report estimates 200,000 new roles are required to meet the federal government’s 2030 target of 82% renewables in the grid, while modelling suggests at least two million new jobs are required to meet net zero emissions by 2050.

EEC Chief Executive Officer Luke Menzel said the Careers for Net Zero campaign, which is backed by Boundless Earth, a philanthropic venture backed and chaired by Atlassian co-founder Cannon-Brookes, has been designed to entice more Australians to consider switching their careers to one in the clean economy sector.

“Immediate action is needed,” he said. “The current talent pool simply isn’t matching up with demand, and many of the roles desperately needed by 2030 already face major skill shortages at a national level.”

“If we fall short of meeting these targets, it will come at a huge cost.”

Kane Thornton, chief executive of the CEC, said global competition for talent across a diverse range of skills and occupations means filling Australia’s skills gap and encourage job seekers to pursue a clean economy career is a top priority for the sector.

“Upskilling needs to occur on a colossal scale,” he said. “We need to double our energy workforce by 2030 and double it again by 2035.”

The new campaign includes an online ‘career explorer’ tool available through the Careers for Net Zero website.

The online platform provides the growing list of careers needed for Australia to reach net zero, highlights the most in-demand jobs, and explains what students, graduates and experienced workers need to do to obtain those roles.

The new campaign announcement coincided with the launch in Australia of clean energy jobs board Terra.do, with about 4,500 clean energy jobs available locally.

Anshuman Bapna, chief executive and co-founder of the online platform, said he is aiming to shift 100,000 Australian workers into clean economy roles by 2027.

“Australia is a relatively small economy but potentially a very big deal for the global climate transition – from critical minerals to hydrogen derivatives,” he said. “But it’ll take a massive mobilisation of talent.”

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