Release type: Media Release


New Energy Apprenticeships to power Australia’s path to net zero


The Hon Brendan O'Connor MP
Minister for Skills and Training

The Australian Government’s commitment to net zero emissions has been given a significant boost with the launch of the New Energy Apprenticeships program.

An army of skilled workers will be required to build and install the infrastructure needed to achieve a 43 per cent emissions reductions target by 2030 and net zero by 2050.

That’s why the Australian Government is spending $95.6 million over nine years to support 10,000 New Energy Apprenticeships.

The program will be launched today by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor, who will be accompanied by Member for Perth Pat Gorman, at WA’s North Metropolitan TAFE, and will see eligible apprentices receive up to $10,000 over the course of their apprenticeship to assist with the cost of living.

The program forms part of the Powering Australia Plan will help to secure a pipeline of talent to deliver Australia’s clean energy infrastructure.

According to the National Skills Commission's 2022 Skills Priority List, the occupations in shortage in WA are largely reflective of the national shortage and include, among others, the care industry, hospitality and tourism, construction, and digital and technology.

Within Western Australia’s list of top 20 occupations with skills shortages, there are a number of clean energy occupations with particularly strong job vacancies in WA, including:

  • Metal Fitters and Machinists (around 24% of national job ads for this occupation are from WA)
  • Structural Steel and Welding Trades Workers (more than 25% of the national job ads for this occupation are from WA).  
  • Electricians (around 20% of national job ads are from WA)
  • Motor Mechanics (around 19% of national job ads are from WA).

 Other occupations in the clean energy space in shortage in Western Australia include:

  • Automotive Electricians (around 30% of national job ads are from WA)
  • Mechanical Engineering Draftspersons and Technicians (around 25% of national job ads are from WA)
  • Sheetmetal Trades Workers (around 16% of national job ads are from WA).

The New Energy Apprenticeships measure is just one of a suite of measures to arrest the declining apprentice completion rates we saw under the previous government.

The Albanese Labor Government’s plan will ensure that New Energy apprentices have more than just financial advice, with further tailored support including networking, and the opportunity to benefit from an industry mentor.

The announcement comes off the back of the Australian Government’s commitment to a $1 billion 12-month Skills Agreement, delivering 180,000 Fee-Free TAFE and vocational education places to priority groups in 2023, jointly funded with states and territories.

Fee-Free TAFE will increase opportunities and workforce participation of priority groups, including First Nations Australians, young people aged 17-24, people out of work or receiving income support, unpaid carers, women undertaking study in non-traditional fields, and people with disability.

Western Australia will benefit from 18,800 places, with approximately 8,500 places in the care sector, as well as 2,400 places in technology and digital, 1,900 places in agriculture and 1,500 places in construction.

There will also be 1,400 places in hospitality and tourism, 300 places in sovereign capability including manufacturing, and around 2,800 in other sectors including foundational skills for WA.

Quotes from Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor

“After almost a decade of missed opportunities under the Coalition, Labor is securing new energy jobs for Australians.
“Clean energy industries are the future for our workers and include work in solar installation, large-scale renewable projects, electric vehicles, green hydrogen, and renewable manufacturing.

“The cost-of-living pressures faced by thousands of students, trainees and apprentices need immediate attention.

“The New Energy Apprenticeships Support Payment is designed to encourage apprentices to choose a career in the clean energy sector, support them through it, and help them complete their training to go on and have successful careers.

“We must build greater skills capacity in the clean energy sector, so our economic growth isn't impeded, and Australia's clean energy transition continues to accelerate to achieve our 2030 Emission Reduction Target.”