Action plan brings water jobs to our regions

Media release | 17 December 2021

The NSW Government is investing $1.175 million for 200 new trainee places each year in NSW under a new plan to tackle the critical skills shortage in the water operations sector.

Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey said the investment will boost training and employment opportunities in regional NSW for school leavers, Aboriginal and First Nations students, and existing water operators.

“We’ve invested more than $1 billion in critical water infrastructure to ensure some of our most at-risk communities get access to safe and secure water, but we need skilled operators at the helm,” Mrs Pavey said.

“Currently there aren’t enough trained staff to run and manage our drinking water and sewerage systems. Without these operators, taps run dry, toilets don’t flush, water services are disrupted and towns and businesses can't function.

“With this plan, we’re building a strong, capable workforce, securing critical water services and bringing great jobs to our regions.”

Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education Geoff Lee said the partnership with the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment’s Town Water Risk Reduction Program, Training Services NSW and local water utilities will bring current operators up to speed and attract new recruits to the industry.

“Water operators want to upskill and grow their careers. Every year, there are up to 200 staff in our regions who ask for accredited training – but they can’t access it, because there aren’t enough Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) and trainers offering those opportunities,” Mr Lee said.

“Meanwhile, local water utilities, especially in regional towns, have an incredibly hard time attracting and keeping skilled staff.

“This plan will establish a sustainable training market, develop high -quality resources for RTOs, and boost funding for remote and regional student training places.”

View of regional town

View of regional town.