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Last week’s report by Jobs and Skills Australia, The Clean Energy Generation: Workforce needs for a net zero economy; is a call to action for Australian industry.

The insights from the report map out a trajectory for Australia’s transition to a net-zero economy, highlighting the critical role engineers will play in achieving this ambition.
The report emphasises the importance of demand forecasting.

To navigate the current skills crisis effectively, it’s vital that we transition from anecdotal, qualitative data to a more quantified, data-driven approach.
Engineers Australia has consistently championed this cause, underscoring the importance of a strategic forecast for engineering demands over the coming decade and beyond.

As the report highlights, we need to prepare for a demand of nearly 2 million workers in the engineering and building trades by 2050.

This makes clear the need for diverse pathways into the engineering profession.

By championing alternative vocational training pathways, we can attract a broader spectrum of talent into the engineering fold.
However, challenges loom. Low participation in STEM subjects is a red flag.

It’s evident that our transition to clean energy and a sustainable future could be hampered without adequate expertise.

The report highlights the necessity for a larger number of STEM graduates, notably in civil and mechanical engineering, along with specialised disciplines.
With a current skills crisis in engineering, the clock is ticking.

Meeting the energy targets set for 2030, 2040, and 2050 requires immediate action. Engineers Australia is urging the Australian government to set an ambitious goal: 60,000 additional engineering graduates by 2033.

Our current statistics are alarming – only 8.5 per cent of Australian graduates have an engineering qualification, positioning us sixth from the bottom in the OECD rankings.
Addressing this crisis isn’t solely about domestic supply. Migration will play a pivotal role in bolstering our engineering capabilities.

The international competition for engineering talent, especially in the clean energy sector, is intensifying.

Australia must position itself as an attractive destination for global engineering talent. This demands clear migration pathways, facilitating permanent residency and ensuring that migrant engineers find employment roles commensurate with their skill sets and experiences.
Beyond talent acquisition, there’s the pressing matter of occupational licensing/registration. The report rightly identifies the engineering community’s role in the transition to net-zero.

Engineers are at the front line, responsible for the design, construction, testing, and maintenance of critical systems that have wide-ranging implications for public health, safety, and the economy.

Yet, astonishingly, we lack a uniform regulatory regime for engineering practitioners across the nation.


Engineers Australia stands firm on the necessity for reforms, advocating for nationally consistent registration of professional engineers.
The report’s alignment with other government initiatives, including the employment white paper, Universities Accord, and the 2023 review of the Migration System reaffirms the collective commitment to usher in a sustainable, net-zero future.

Engineers Australia remains committed to leading this charge, ensuring that Australia is equipped with the talent, skills, ideas and regulatory frameworks necessary to meet its net-zero ambitions.
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