Jobs and skills: the EEC’s critical role in developing the future energy workforce 27 April 2022
By Toby Lawrenson
To transition to net zero, Australia needs a trained and experienced workforce with the right skills, in the right locations, at the right time. The EEC works with stakeholders across the energy services sector, including tradies, professionals, businesses, unions, non-government organisations and all levels of government Australia-wide to support the transformation required.
We have long provided support to identify needs and develop skills to support sustainable growth of the energy services sector and government goals to reduce energy costs and emissions across the economy.
Commercial buildings retrofits
In 2013, we launched the Energy Efficiency Certification Scheme (EECS), developed in consultation with industry and government to certify skilled and experienced practitioners of commercial building energy upgrades, up to and including integrated building energy retrofits. It gave building owners confidence that the best energy efficiency outcomes were being implemented in their buildings.
In 2020, we worked with the NSW Government to develop a new professional development course for energy services professionals, the Energy Management Systems (EnMS) Advisor training program. This course helps ensure there are sufficient energy services professionals available to support businesses with implementing an EnMS, providing those professionals with the systems and technical knowledge necessary to support the implementation of an EnMS, and importantly, the skills to effectively engage and influence senior executives to move beyond ad hoc upgrades to realise continuous improvement in energy performance.
More recently, in 2021 we worked with a broad industry coalition to release the Roadmap for quality control and safety in insulation installation. The Roadmap set out a series of actions to ensure that insulation is installed following best practice processes for quality control and safety, key amongst those was the need to reconfigure and relaunch installer certification. Installer certification provides confidence that high-quality and safe insulation installation is being undertaken, and ensures we have healthy and comfortable homes that waste less energy.
EEC Professional Certifications Framework
In 2021, the EEC announced the EECS was being redesigned into an umbrella certification framework under which multiple professional certifications would sit. The EEC Professional Certifications Framework will initially administer three certifications – Certified Emissions Reduction Leader for Commercial Buildings, Certified EnMS Advisor and Certified Insulation Installer.
- The Certified Emissions Reduction Leader for Commercial Buildings certification is replacing the existing Certified Energy Efficiency Specialist and Certified Energy Efficiency Leader certifications. It will continue to certify professionals who can lead integrated commercial building energy retrofits.
- The Certified EnMS Advisor certification is underpinned by the EnMS Advisor training that is delivered by the EEC in partnership with the NSW Office of Energy and Climate Change. It certifies professionals that are able to advise businesses on establishing a systematic approach to energy management.
- The Certified Insulation Installer certification will replace the previous certification scheme administered by the Clean Energy Council. This certifies installers to enable the safe and effective installation of insulation in Australia, a critical component of achieving net zero targets and ensuring healthy, comfortable homes and workplaces. It will transition to the EEC on an interim basis from 1 July 2022 until 30 June 2023. It is being held on an interim basis to enable a review of the program and related skills and training needs, as per the recommendation in the Roadmap for quality control and safety in insulation installation.
The EEC Professional Certifications Framework and individual certifications within the Framework will be launched at the end of this financial year. Certification Reference Groups (CRGs) will be established for each of the certifications, giving relevant stakeholders the opportunity to ensure that the certifications continue to meet the needs of industry and government over time. Further detail about the CRGs – and the opportunity to get involved – will be released in the coming months.
The Framework is just the most recent example of the EEC’s ongoing commitment to developing the future energy workforce for Australia and is part of our broader sector development strategy aimed squarely at driving high-quality skills and jobs for the transition across the energy services sector and the economy.
EEC training and skills work
The EEC will carry on delivering its continuing professional development (CPD) masterclass programs, and international certifications on measurement and verification and energy management – you can learn more here. And continues to work with government on developing new training – such as the recently developed Demand management for policy makers training – to support Australia’s energy transition and net zero transformation.
Toby Lawrenson is the Sector Development Manager at the Energy Efficiency Council. He has worked across corporate, not-for-profit and government organisations in energy and sustainability, most recently in the City of Melbourne’s Climate Change and City Resilience branch as CitySwitch Program Manager. You can connect with Toby on LinkedIn.