– Toby Thorpe, Community Engagement Manager, Tasmania, RE-Alliance.
Our transition to renewable energy presents opportunities to strengthen regional communities across the country, and make them thriving and resilient. But what does the energy transition offer and mean for young regional Australians?
I have recently joined the team at RE-Alliance as the Community Engagement Manager in Tasmania. I grew up in the country’s southernmost community, the Huon Valley in Tasmania’s far south. Communities like mine can play a big part in the transition. I was a school striker and an organiser in the youth climate movement. For the best part of the last 10 years, I have been working with young people across the world to empower my generation to be part of solutions to some of the world’s biggest problems.
It’s important to recognise that young people want to be part of the conversation on climate, energy and our collective future. We have a unique perspective: as young people, we see the energy transition through the lens of having lived every day of our lives in the climate crisis. We know that we need to act now to safeguard and build prosperous futures for our communities – and there are young people in every corner of the country who want to contribute.
Young people have a huge opportunity in the energy transformation to advocate for how we want our communities to look and operate. We can shape the benefits that renewable energy projects can offer our communities to make them long-lasting and impactful.
There will also be new opportunities created for the young workforce, with the renewable energy industry bringing great potential for diversification of employment and training opportunities in regional Australia. As a young person growing up in regional Tasmania, I experienced firsthand the challenges of employment, training, access to services and the cost of living – so I am excited by the prospect of a new industry meaning young people can have more choices for work and training in their home communities.
Young people today make up a quarter of the total professional workforce and are approximately 18% of Australia’s population – but we are 100% of the future.
There is immense opportunity offered by our renewable energy transition for young people. It’s important for diverse voices to be heard, and early on in the process, as we shape it, so we can create benefits that are shared by everyone. I look forward to supporting young people to amplify their voices and mobilise their visions for the future of their communities.