Posted: Apr 3, 2008

Water industry to address skills shortage

The National Water Industry Skills Forum, attended by more than 60 water industry leaders, has mapped out a plan of action to tackle the increasing skills shortages in Australia’s water industry.
The forum, opened by the Minister for Climate Change and Water, Penny Wong, was jointly convened by the National Water Commission, the Australian Water Association (AWA) and the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA).
“The water industry is set to become even more vital to Australia in the face of climate change. So it is absolutely crucial that this industry has the skilled personnel needed to meet the urgent water management challenges ahead,” Ken Matthews, CEO of the National Water Commission, said.
“Several studies commissioned by the water industry, for example a recent report by the Water Services Association of Australia, have found that the skills shortage is emerging as a key constraint on Australia’s water industry.”
Ross Young, executive director, Water Services Association of Australia said, “Demand for additional employees in the urban water industry is expected to rise by over 7% in the next 10 years.
“When we couple this demand with the 37% of current employees forecast to leave the sector over this period, we find that the water utilities sector alone will experience a shortage of more than 8600 skilled workers in the next decade.
“If we take this as an indicator of likely exit rates across the water industry as a whole, then the entire industry is in serious trouble unless decisive action is taken.”
Tom Mollenkopf, CEO of the Australian Water Association said, “Water is in scarce supply and so are the skills needed to deliver solutions. Today’s forum has agreed to invest in a set of concrete initiatives to tackle that shortage.”
For more information, visit  NWC.


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