Infrastructure sustainability is generating noticeable growth in the jobs market, with demand for Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA) and Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) certified sustainability professionals increasing with each major infrastructure project announcement.
Michael Antonievich, senior consultant renewable energy & environment at human resources and recruitment consultancy Polyglot Group, said multi-disciplinary consulting organisations house the bulk of these engineers and consultants, and to a lesser extent the larger construction companies.
The NSW and Victorian markets are significantly more buoyant than the other states.
The renewable energy sector is also growing steadily.
“Utility-scale projects, commercial and industrial rooftop installations, and residential uptake of solar and storage, are all increasing as technology improvements and implementation cost reductions continue,” Mr Antonievich said.
“This has a spin-off to the wider sustainability sector, as companies become increasingly more concerned about playing their part in climate change adaptation and managing their escalating energy costs.”
Carbon management jobs cool down
According to Mr Antonievich, sustainability reporting roles seem to have stagnated as capabilities have been brought in-house at most ASX 200 companies.
“Carbon management and accounting has also suffered due to a lack of federal policy drivers post the Gillard government,” he said.
“This is lamentable, and given our continued commitment to the Paris Climate Accord we can only hope the upcoming Coalition government’s policy response favours a more aggressive Clean Energy Target.”
Climate Council growth to target sustainable cities
The Climate Council – the independent, community-funded organisation that seeks to provide expert advice to Australians on climate change – is expanding its prolific team with two new roles being advertised for Melbourne or Sydney.
An extra researcher is being sought for the research team, which has produced more than 70 reports in just three years. The other role is for a media advisor to be responsible for the public relations work associated with a new, national program that focuses on accelerating the emissions reductions and clean energy successes of Australian towns and cities.
Climate Council chief councillor Tim Flannery said the media advisor role for the Cities Power Partnership project was an autonomous role that would be key in ensuring the innovative program was a success.
“It’s an exciting opportunity to work with some of the best climate communicators, researchers and experts in the world,” he said.
The Cities Power Partnership project incentivises local councils to increase renewable energy and energy efficiency, improve sustainable transport, and engage in advocacy.
So far, 23 councils have signed up to the program and more are expected.
“From mid-2017 to mid-2018 we expect at least 50 councils across the country will pledge to become ‘power’ partners,” Mr Flannery said.
“Each council will identify five key actions from the Power Partner Pledge, ranging from renewable energy to transport, which they’ll report on every six months via the Climate Council’s online survey.”
Members will get access to a national knowledge hub and a tool to measure emissions and the energy savings of projects. They will be buddied with other towns and cities to share knowledge, receive visits from domestic and international experts, be connected with community energy groups, and celebrated at events with other local leaders. Achievements will be highlighted in national, local and social media.
Mr Flannery said the national energy debate was reaching fever pitch but federal government action was stagnating.
“We continue to swelter through record-breaking heat-lengthening bushfire seasons, worsening coastal flooding and supercharged storms,” he said. “Throughout all of these challenges, local heroes in towns and cities across the country have been getting on with the job of slashing emissions and ramping up renewable energy.
“We want the Cities Power Partnership to help these local heroes do even more. We want to see a surge in local emissions reduction plans, we want to turbocharge the switch to cleaner energy and we want this program to help build greener, efficient and more resilient communities.”
Sustainability opportunities in construction
Construction company John Holland is searching for environmental and sustainability graduates in NSW/ACT as part of its National Graduate Program 2018 intake.
A spokeswoman said the company was looking for five to eight graduates who would need qualifications in a related discipline and a passion for construction.
The company’s structured two-year program provides graduates with soft skills development, on-the-job experience and opportunities to network with senior leaders.
Current and ongoing NSW/ACT projects include the Sydney Metro North West, 1 Parramatta Square (the 14-level flagship Parramatta city campus for Western Sydney University) and the Canberra Metro light rail.