Photo by Hello I'm Nik ? on Unsplash

It’s a tumultuous time for the jobs market, with almost a million Australians out of a job at the last count. However, there’s signs that green jobs are doing well, with the rooftop solar industry reporting a record six months according to data from Green Energy Markets.

But while this is good for jobs in the industry overall, Clean Energy Council’s director of distributed energy Darren Gladman said that the increased activity is quite “patchy”, and some solar companies are actually struggling and looking to let some staff go.

The narrative behind a green job-led recovery is also taking shape, with The Million Jobs Plan by climate change think tank Beyond Zero Emissions attracting some attention last week.

Backed by Atlassian co-founder and renewable energy investor Mike Cannon-Brookes, the plan is packed with good ideas to boost the economy in an environmentally sustainable way, including a bolstered battery manufacturing sector, deep energy efficiency retrofits to homes and more.

The Fifth Estate will be keeping track of the initiatives outlined in this plan with ongoing coverage through a partnership with Beyond Zero Emissions.

Job movements afoot

Professor Deo Prasad, former head of the CRC for Low Carbon Living (which completed last year), has taken a role as associate dean industry partnerships and innovation at the University of New South Wales.

Professor Prasad has an impressive background in sustainability research, including as director of the UNSW Centre for a Sustainable Built Environment and founder of the university’s Masters in Built Environment.

Jane MacMaster has been appointed the inaugural chief engineer at Engineers Australia. Ms MacMaster is an experienced engineer but also has a postgraduate qualifications in International Relations, and has been a senior strategy advisor for the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Her engineering experience includes a stint at BAE Systems Australia for various aerospace and defence programs including a supersonic ship self-defence system project for NATO.

Most recently she was founder and director of Ponder Enterprises, where she used her engineering skillset to address complex societal challenges.

The newly created role is designed to lead the industry body’s engagement and policy discussion with industry, government, academia and other key stakeholders.

Director of the Green Building Council of Australia, Tanya Cox, has been appointed chair of the World Green Building Council board of directors.

She’s been on the WorldGBC’s Board since July 2016, and takes over the position of chair from Canada’s Lisa Bate. The announcement makes Ms Cox, a former chief operating officer at Dexus, the second Australian to serve in this global sustainability leadership position.

After 11 and a half years, John Daley is no longer chief executive officer at the Grattan Institute. Mr Daley has handed the top position over to Danielle Wood, who was formerly the budget policy and institutional reform program director at the public policy think tank.

He’s staying on for the next three months as a senior fellow to write-up two projects, one on prioritisation and the other on blockers to reform.

Clint Peters has taken a job as the director of development at the City Renewal Authority, the government body leading the transformation of Canberra’s renewal precinct.

Mr Peters joins the organisation from the Suburban Land Agency, where he was the executive director of sales, marketing, community development, affordable housing and built form initiatives. He’s also been an executive director with the Asbestos Response Taskforce.

Our pick of the jobs

There are signs sustainability skills are still in demand, despite the pandemic knocking the jobs market around. Edge Environment has hired a couple of new recruits and is now looking to fill a new casual circular economy consultant role to focus on resource recovery and the circular economy.

Jones Lang LaSalle is looking for a sustainability manager – environmental systems, who will make sure buildings owned and leased by the real estate company comply with environmental legislation, policy requirements and best environmental practice.

Multidisciplinary design studio McGregor Coxall is looking for a global environment leader, which they say is a “key and strategic appointment”.

If music is more your jam then consider applying to the business development officer role at Green Music Australia, founded by Tim Hollo, subject of an upcoming podcast, which is dedicated to encouraging musicians and the broader industry to make changes to improve its environmental performance.

There’s even a job going for a professional Lego sorter for a charming startup called Bricktastics that purchases second hand Lego and reassembles it into unique creative packs, selling them at lower prices so that children from poorer families can afford them. Paying up to $30 an hour, we can think of worse ways to make money.

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