A range of energy efficiency training providers and options are available, including accredited training (university and VET), on-the-job learning, government workshops, and programs offered by professional and industry associations.

Government programs

Commonwealth and state/territory governments run a variety of energy efficiency programs which include capacity-building, training events and detailed guidance materials to support on-the-job training.

Government energy efficiency programs with training components include:

NSW Energy Saver program

Energy Saver training courses offer the opportunity for hands-on experience in energy management and to learn how to implement energy efficiency projects to make businesses more energy-efficient and reduce costs. Courses range from energy management basics through to a variety of technologies.

NSW Sustainability Advantage program

Sustainability Advantage is an initiative to help businesses identify and implement environmental improvement projects that will reduce risk, lower costs and improve productivity. The program brings together groups of businesses into clusters that share regional, industry or supply chain interests. Cluster meetings are held 3−4 times a year and provide an opportunity to draw on the ideas and experiences of like minded organisations. The program’s initial management diagnostic helps participants evaluate their current environmental performance and rank areas of priority.

Queensland’s ecoBiz program

ecoBiz is an eco-efficiency partnership between the Queensland Government and Queensland business that provides a structured program to help achieve environmental and financial savings by implementing eco-efficient business practices.  Business sustainability programs, delivered through ecoBiz Queensland, are now delivered through the Chamber of Commerce & Industry Queensland.

National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS)

NABERS is a national performance-based system that rates buildings on the basis of measured operational impacts on the environment which relies on accredited assessors. For more information on NABERS assessor training and accreditation, see the NABERS website training page.

The US National Training & Education Resources website

The US Department of Energy has turned some of its technology-specific training into free on-line training courses which can be found on the National Training and Educational Resource (NTER) website. A search of the site will identify training material for industrial systems such as pumps, fans. process heating, steam, mechanical insulation etc.

The NTER website offers open source, low cost, multi-media, interactive, self-paced training modules and education resources for learners and educators. While the site is still in a beta  stage of development, it accessible to anyone, although it requires users to create a user name and password. More information on NTER can be found on the About NTER webpage.

Professional and industry organisations

Many professional and industry associations run information seminars, professional development programs and training activities. Issues such as sustainability, energy efficiency and carbon pricing are an increasing focus for these activities. Some examples include:

Manufacturing Skills Australia

There are six Energy Efficiency Skill Sets in the MSS11 Sustainability Training Package which cover the skills needed to identify and measure energy consumption and plan energy improvements. Businesses can use the skill sets to make their internal training and performance management systems more energy focused. Registered training organisations can use the skill sets as targeted training and assessment programs for businesses who want to improve their energy efficiency. The RTO can issue a nationally recognised skill set to successful candidates comprising units of competency from the Sustainable Operations qualifications in the MSS11 Sustainability Training Package.

The Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating (AIRAH) – AIRAH offers a number of short courses and post-graduate qualifications in energy efficiency and energy auditing.

Plastics and Chemicals Industry Association (PACIA) – PACIA’s Carbon Solutions Program is a key component of its Sustainability Leadership Framework. The program forums provide useful knowledge on emerging technologies, changing regulations, and incentives in Australia.

Energy Users Association of Australia (EUAA) – The EUAA holds regular events and workshops on energy markets, energy pricing and climate change related issues. The association’s annual conference includes a range of guest speakers on topics such as electricity and gas markets, energy efficiency, energy procurement, as well as a range of practical end-user sessions and case studies. 

Australian Power Institute (API) – The API was established by the electricity power industry to support engineers in the power sector. API periodically opens its bursary program which provides support to power engineering students, and conducts seminars and conferences that cover issues such as energy efficiency, sustainability and responding to the climate challenge.

Engineers Australia (EA)   EA’s Professional Development Program (PDP) is a platform for engineers to achieve chartered status through career path progression and work-based training. The program is based on achieving EA’s Stage 2 competency standards, which have recently been upgraded to incorporate a range of new sustainability requirements. The PDP can be tailored to match both the professional needs of employees and the business requirements of an organisation.

Energetics and the US Association of Energy Engineers The consultancy firm Energetics, and the US Association of Energy Engineers, have teamed up to offer a certified energy manager training program and certification exam for people seeking a broader understanding of the latest energy cost reduction techniques and strategies.

Energy Efficiency Council The Energy Efficiency Certification Scheme provides professional certification for the individuals that lead and manage comprehensive energy retrofits of commercial buildings. The scheme enables commercial building owners and managers to identify industry professionals with the right expertise. The scheme is operated by the Energy Efficiency Council under the supervision of an independent steering committee made up of experts from industry, government and the property sector.

More information on training offered by professional and industry organisations

Information on training and events being offered by professional or industry organisations can be found in the Events section of the EEX website. 

Tertiary education

The Learning and Teaching Sustainability website

The Learning and Teaching Sustainability website  includes information on energy efficiency education, resources for educators, and courses that may have energy efficiency content for students.

The website was sponsored by the the Australian Government’s Office of Teaching and Learning and is managed by the University of Technology Sydney and the Institute of Sustainable Futures.

Universities

University courses offer the opportunity to learn energy efficiency skills through degree and higher degree courses of three or more years, masters programs typically of one to two years in duration and continuing professional development courses for practising professionals.

Engineering courses

Many university engineering courses  incorporate some energy efficiency content in their general degrees. See also ‘More information on Higher Education Courses’ below.

Australian National University Energy Systems Engineering. This is an undergraduate course offered by the Research School of Engineering. The course explores the fundamental  interactions between heat and mass transfer and how these principles are applied in a systems engineering context. Students are taught how to apply energy efficiency principles to engineered fluid systems.

With funding from the NSW Government’s Energy Efficiency Training Program, the University of Wollongong and the University of NSW have developed a range of courses for undergraduates, postgraduates and practising engineers, which focus specifically on energy efficiency.

University of Wollongong The University’s Sustainable Buildings Research Centre (SBRC) , offers professional development short courses for engineers and other interested participants.  Each short course is designed to be delivered over two days, with a significant component dedicated to hands-on, interactive, or discussion-based activities. Each short course is offered on a stand-alone basis, while complementing the overall program of courses. For more information, see the Energy Efficiency Training for Engineers – Course Summary & Schedule on the SBRC website.

In addition, the University of Wollongong’s Faculty of Engineering offers undergraduate engineering degrees that include energy efficiency units. Topics include renewable and embedded generation, energy efficiency in electricity utilisation, energy efficiency and auditing in the built environment, building design for energy efficiency and sustainability, energy efficiency in manufacturing and process industries, and sustainable energy technologies. Units are currently delivered during normal university sessions with more flexible on-line units under development.

University of NSW, Faculty of Engineering – A set of flexible energy efficiency postgraduate courses provide professionals with energy efficiency skills for application in their chosen industry. The courses are supported by online resources, and designed for face-to-face delivery, or distance delivery with three face-to-face workshops. For more information, see ‘Energy Efficiency Engineering Postgraduate Courses’ on the University of New South Wales website.

In addition, the University’s Engineering Faculty offers undergraduate engineering degrees that include energy efficiency units.

Other university courses with energy efficiency content

Sustainability or environmental management courses typically include some energy efficiency content. Some business schools are also including energy efficiency as a topic in accounting and business management courses.

Note: It is sometimes difficult to confirm how much energy efficiency is covered in course material, and courses and content offered can change quite frequently, so it is best to confirm this information directly with course providers and co-ordinators.

More information on higher education courses

Samples of undergraduate engineering courses and non-engineering university courses which include energy efficiency content have been identified through recent research.

  This list was compiled a few years ago however the information is still provided to identify the diversity of courses that may contain energy efficiency topics.

Vocational education and training (VET)

The VET sector provides training for tradespeople or professionals wanting to upskill, retrain or gain new qualifications through a nationally consistentsystem.

Recognised ‘training products’ are developed and maintained by state and national registration and course accreditation bodies to ensure currency and industry-relevance. Qualifications are available at Certificate I–IV, Diploma, Advanced Diploma, Vocational Graduate Certificate and Vocational Graduate Diploma levels.

Industry skills councilsIndustry skills councils work closely with industry and the vocational education and training sector in developing and delivering workforce development services, including training packages for various industry sectors.

A number of ISCs have qualifications in sustainability and energy efficiency.  Two of these are:

Registered training organisations – Registered training organisations (RTOs) are registered providers of quality assured and nationally recognised training and qualifications. They include the government run TAFE colleges, along with industry and private training providers. RTOs can provide a range of training options from full-time to part-time, on-site training or distance learning. As well as full qualifications, RTOs can deliver targeted and accredited ‘skill sets’ and short courses comprised of one or more ‘units of competency’.  RTOs can be found at training.gov.au.

Recognition of prior learning – RTOs can provide individuals with recognition of prior learning (RPL). RPL may enable a student to finish a course earlier, by providing evidence of their prior learning and experience to the RTO for assessment and recognition. RPL may also allow individuals to receive formal recognition of their existing skills by doing a little, or in some instances, no further training.

More information on VET training

Training.gov.au is the official national register of information on VET training packages, qualifications, courses, units of competency and registered training organisations (RTOs) and was developed for experienced training sector users.

sample of VET courses and units of competency that contain energy efficiency content was identified through research conducted in 2010. While the list was compiled several years ago, it gives an indication of the diversity of courses in which energy efficiency content can be found.

Note: It is sometimes difficult to confirm how much energy efficiency is covered in course material, and courses and content offered can change quite frequently, so it is best to confirm this information directly with course providers and co-ordinators.

On-site/on-the-job training

On-the-job training is a preferred method of skills development by many employees and businesses.

Companies sometimes create their own on-the-job training programs.  Alternatively, some will use existing programs, or will customise programs for their own use.  This is sometimes done in partnership with government or training organisations.

Training providers such as universities and registered training organisations can also provide relevant material for on-the-job energy efficiency training. For example, the National Centre for Sustainability at Swinburne University has developed a range of programs to assist companies implement organisational change around sustainability. NCS programs include one-off workshops, events and longer term sustainability workforce programs.

Company energy efficiency training programs

Some companies are willing to share training with others in their sector.

Linfox developed the Eco-Drive™ training program in collaboration with the Australian Logistics Council to achieve fuel efficiencies, drive down costs and reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions. Staff measured up to 14% fuel efficiency gains in individual vehicles utilising the principles of Eco-Drive™. The program is now offered by a range of training operators across the transport sector.

The NSW Government’s Energy Efficiency Training Program’s Industry Partnership projects has funded partnerships between companies and the training sector to customise or develop energy efficiency training courses that will be available for use by other companies. The courses and course materials are designed to train managers and staff to make business operations, products or services more energy efficient and less carbon intensive.

Further information on the Industry Partnership Projects, (including the training courses when they become available) can be found on the NSW Government Department of Environment and Heritage website.

The GPT property group developed and conducted customised training for property managers, operations managers and sub-contractors in six Sydney office buildings to better analyse and interpret energy data, which resulted in significant energy savings, and improvements in energy ratings for two buildings. A two- page case study was prepared on this initiative.

Mentoring

In addition to formal on-the-job learning, learning from colleagues through formal or informal mentoring is an important way to learn and pass on energy efficiency skills, and retain those skills within a company.

More information about on-the-job training

Information on upcoming training events that sometimes include on-the-job training can be found in the Events section of the EEX website.