Developing the future energy workforce: RACE opportunity assessment released 07 October 2021


Yesterday the RACE for 2030 Cooperative Research Centre published the opportunity assessment final report on the RACE for Everyone theme of developing the future energy workforce. The research was led by the University of Technology Sydney, in collaboration with the Australian Power InstituteClimate-KIC Australia, the Energy Efficiency CouncilEnergyLabMonash University, Startupbootcamp and Ultima Capital Partners.

The research addressed several fundamental questions about Australia’s energy sector, including:

  • How to measure the workforce;
  • How training and skills can be designed to be fit for the future; and
  • How to the strengthen Australia’s innovation pathways.

Congruently, the work is separated into three work packages addressing:

  1. Market size, workforce, and employment;
  2. New skills development; and
  3. Innovation pathways.

The opportunity assessment describes a pathway to understanding the present and future energy workforce in Australia. It considers opportunities to address the clean energy transition through the development of a workforce that underpins the sector, and the innovation pathways that can be strengthened to support growth. In doing this, the report establishes a route to understanding:

  • The expected and potential workforce growth needed for a clean energy transition;
  • The occupations and skills that are going to be required;
  • How to deliver the training needed to support the development of those skills; and
  • How innovation pathways can be strengthened to support Australia’s energy transition.

The report includes a research roadmap for the duration of RACE for 2030 that specifies priority research projects for developing the future energy workforce. In particular, the research roadmap describes a suite of projects that are key to enabling:

  • Enhanced energy sector productivity by enabling an appropriately skilled and informed work force, both within and outside of the energy sector;
  • Detailed energy sector work force and market size modelling and granular data supporting planning to:
    • Ensure that the energy transition can proceed in smoothly and efficiently, without delays caused by skill shortages;
    • Enable Australia, states and territories to maximise on-shore, regional, and local employment and value from the energy transition; and
    • Demonstrate the impacts of government policies and programs;
    • Development of priority course content relating to energy for tertiary and vocational offerings and continuing professional development (CPD) to address the technical and specialist skills for the future energy industry and more broadly; and
    • Development of targeted policies and programs that leverage energy management as a tool for lowering energy costs and emissions.

There are several priority projects for which national, state and territory support is required, this includes:

  • Developing and implementing an Australian Energy and Employment Report (AEER), a major new biennial study to capture good quality baseline information followed by systematic workforce projections for the entire energy sector;
  • Designing the process to ensure coverage of the energy management workforce in the AEER by extending the survey in a streamlined version to non-energy sectors such as manufacturing, agriculture, health, and education;
  • Undertaking targeted consultation by sub-sector to determine the boundaries to be used when measuring the energy efficiency workforce by activity and sub-sector;
  • Mapping occupations within the energy workforce to identify the generic technical and other skills for those specific occupations;
  • Reviewing and undertaking a gap analysis for continuing professional development across the energy sector to strengthen professional development pathways for energy professionals; and
  • Developing a RACE for 2030 innovation strategy to build innovation capabilities.

To learn more, read the report now, and visit RACE’s website here.

On behalf of the project team, we would like to extend our gratitude to the many stakeholders who were consulted in the development of this report, including participants in the Industry Reference Group, interviews, workshops, and surveys.

If you would like to learn more about how we’re looking to measure the energy – including the energy efficiency and energy management – workforce, don’t hesitate to reach out to Holly Taylor, Head of Projects at the Energy Efficiency Council, on

Holly Taylor is Head of Projects at the Energy Efficiency Council; follow Holly on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.

This article was originally published in the October edition of Efficiency Insight.