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Two million jobs: Australia needs more STEM students to help us get to net zero

Jobs in the ‘net zero economy’ are diverse and interesting, going well beyond engineering to climate analysis, advising businesses and government, or working with electric vehicles

One of the big promises Australia’s government has made to help address climate change is to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2050, which means transitioning to renewable energy. 

But a new report from the government says Australia is at risk of missing its emissions target due to skills shortages, and that we’ll need more than 2 million people working in clean energy if we’re to get there.

So if you’re worried about climate change, you should defs consider all the growing careers not just in energy, but other fields that will help us reduce carbon emissions. 

“Whatever you’re interested in, you could end up doing that in a business that’s doing renewable energy or working to reduce carbon emissions,” says Holly Taylor, head of strategy and partnerships at the Energy Efficiency Council.

And, Holly says, although there’s a real shortage of people trained in the essential engineering fields, it’s important students realise “there’s more to getting us to net zero than being an engineer or an electrician”.

Jobs that will help us to get to net zero include everything from blade technicians working on wind turbines, to energy and climate analysts like Adrienne Josefski, who uses her maths and physics skills to help companies transition to renewable energy.

There are literally dozens of jobs in clean energy – many of them listed in our A-Z of renewable energy careers. Some require a university degree, but many will work for school and TAFE graduates.

Tech entrepreneur Mike Cannon-Brookes, who has invested lots of money in renewable energy companies, says Australia has an “incredible opportunity” to be a global leader in the transition towards clean energy.

“A climate job is not bound by a type of work or a set of skills. It’s about deploying your expertise, whatever that may be, directly to creating a more sustainable future,” Mike says.

“Starting your next role in a climate job now… means you will have the first mover advantage. Climate jobs are future proof. They are resilient. They are in high demand already. But we’re just at the beginning of the bell curve. Going into a climate job now will put you, and Australia, in a winning position.”

READ our Clean Energy Scientist Job Kit and meet real people working to help us get to net zero.

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