The world’s climate emergency should be Australia’s jobs opportunity.
As our trading partners embrace net zero emissions, Australia should be harnessing our natural resources and the skills and innovation of Australian workers to become a new energy superpower. But instead of delivering secure jobs for Australians, the Liberals have wasted eight years worrying about their own jobs and bickering over 22 climate policies.
The Liberal National Government’s vandalism means Australians – particularly young Australians – are missing out on good, secure jobs building Australia’s new energy future.
The Clean Energy Council highlights that Australia already faces renewable energy skills challenges, with “difficulties recruiting workers with relevant experience ... and existing training systems not meeting industry needs”. For example, some training companies do not offer new energy training courses because they are expensive to deliver.
Three in four solar companies now say they have difficulty recruiting electricians, with “not enough candidates with specific experience in renewable energy” the leading barrier.
Despite this skills crisis, and almost $100 billion of new spending, there are still 150,000 fewer apprentices than when Labor was in government.
Australia needs a Government that understands that new energy can create secure jobs in our suburbs and regions
An Albanese Labor Government will invest $100 million to support 10,000 New Energy Apprenticeships
Businesses who employ apprentices receive substantial Commonwealth subsidies – but at the same time most apprentices don’t get a cent from Scott Morrison. This lack of direct support for apprentices is one reason why many young people don’t complete their training.
To encourage apprentices to train in the new energy jobs of the future, and to provide the additional support they need to complete their training, an Albanese Labor Government will invest $100 million to support 10,000 New Energy Apprenticeships.
Apprentices who choose to train in new energy industries will receive up to $10,000 - $2,000 on commencement, and $2,000 a year for up to four years afterwards, including on successful completion. This will help to increase apprentice uptake, boost retention and improve completions.
Examples of eligible industries include rooftop solar installation and maintenance, large-scale renewable projects, energy efficiency upgrades to homes and businesses, green hydrogen, renewable manufacturing, and relevant agricultural activities.
10,000 New Energy Apprenticeships will be available over four years (2,500 commencements a year from 2022-23).
Labor will also invest $10 million in a New Energy Skills Program
Program Eight years of cuts to TAFE have severely reduced the availability of relevant training pathways for new skills, particularly those that are not yet in the market at scale, or for experienced workers seeking to re-train or upskill in new energy industries.
To tailor skills training to the specific needs of new energy industries, Labor will also invest $10 million in a New Energy Skills Program.
Under the Program, Labor will work with the states and territories, industry and unions to ensure workers have access to training pathways that are fit-for-purpose.
This initiative will boost existing work by the TAFE sector to develop skills and build workforce capability.
As part of the Program, Labor will also develop a mentoring program in which experienced workers in new energy industries help to train and support new apprentices.
These commitments are a down payment on Labor’s broader policies to reverse the Liberals’ damage to TAFE and training, and to ensure the workers and communities who have powered Australia for decades continue to do so.
In Government, Labor will also work with industry, unions and regulators to ensure that new energy jobs are secure, with good pay and conditions.
Labor welcomes industry’s recognition that it needs to do more to become an employer of choice and Labor will work with the industry to deliver that outcome.