A NSW Government website

Town Water Risk Reduction Program

Improve access to skills and training

We continue to partner with key stakeholders to address skill shortages in the sector. We are working to increase access to skills and training and attract new people to jobs in the NSW water industry.

Steep slope mower training.

Workforce and training analysis

Skilled and competent operators are vital to provide essential water and sewerage services in regional NSW and to managing drinking water quality. Currently there is a critical shortage of formally trained water operators in NSW.

To better understand these shortages, the Town Water Risk Reduction Program commissioned an analysis of the NSW water operations workforce and its access to training. A summary report (PDF, 420.89 KB) of the analysis published in September 2022 provides much-needed baseline data for use and further development by the local water utility and training sectors and government partners.

NSW Water operations
NSW water operations workforce and training analysis summary.

Water operations skills and training action plan

The Town Water Risk Reduction Program is working in partnership with Training Services NSW, the training sector, and the water utility sector to address both training supply and demand challenges.

Action plan

Our water operations skills and training action plan aims to address these challenges to increase skills of existing operators, attract more operators into the sector and increase employment and jobs in regional NSW.

Download the action plan (PDF. 506KB)

National approach to water operations training materials

Water utility workforce, skills and training shortages exist across Australia. A major barrier to RTOs supplying training in the water operations training market is the high cost of developing teaching, learning and assessment materials consistent with the National Water Training Package. The draft action plan includes an action to reduce this cost barrier by developing high quality training materials and making them available to all RTOs. In consultation with water and training sector stakeholders, we have set out a case for a national approach to water operations training materials (PDF, 615.91 KB) and are discussing it with state, territory and national governments to gain their support.

Projects and pilots from Phase 1

Water operator training needs assessment for Orana Water Utilities Alliance

We are funding this pilot to support the 11 far west water utilities in the Orana Water Utilities Alliance to identify their training needs across their water business, including catchment or source water provision, water and wastewater treatment and all networks. This will enable each utility to identify the specialist skills and training needed for the utility to reliably provide essential water services to their communities.

The outcomes of the pilot will enable the Alliance to easily identify a training pathway for the critical skills shortages in the Far West region and engage a registered training provider to tailor a program that addresses their specific needs.

As an outcome of this pilot project, resources such as generic professional role descriptions and training and skills required for supervisors, operators, and relief operators, will be made available to all water utilities in regional NSW to assist with workforce planning.