Understanding Green Skills

One of the major global challenges being faced today is the need to address climate change and slow-down or even start to reverse the damage inflicted on the planet. It is suggested that there are four major human activities that cause climate change;

Industry – Smoke emissions such as carbon monoxide and harmful gases causing the depletion of the ozone layer. 

Transportation – the burning of petrol/ diesel. 

Logging – deforestation causing unbalanced air content (carbon dioxide vs oxygen). 

Urbanisation and agriculture – increase in temperature due to over-development in construction, and farming. 

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Two of the United Nations existing goals have been introduced to address the need for change to support sustainable methods of production and consumption. These global changes, referred to as ‘greening of the economy’, will inevitably change the skills required, and the tasks involved, in many of the careers we are familiar with. It is important that we start to consider these changes to develop the skills that employers will be looking for as we move towards a more sustainable future.

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Green skills are those skills needed to reduce environmental impacts and support economic restructuring. The transition to a low-carbon, resource-efficient economy requires systemic changes that will result in new products and services and changes in production processes and business models to support and preserve environmental sustainability. Green skills require knowledge, skills, and attitudes/ values. 

  • Environmental awareness and a willingness to learn about sustainable development. Skills will be required in systems and risk analysis, assessment, interpretation and understanding of both the need for change and the measures and innovation required to identify opportunities and create new strategies to respond to green challenges.
  • Coordination and management of activities and change. Skills will be required in facilitating holistic and interdisciplinary approaches covering economic, social and ecological objectives. Communication and negotiation skills will be necessary for discussion of conflicting interests and marketing skills to promote greener products and services.
  • Adaptability and entrepreneurism. Green skills include the ability to share knowledge and transfer skills to help wider teams to understand and apply new green technologies and processes in their work area. It will also be necessary to possess the ability to capture opportunities presented by low-carbon technologies.
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These skills must be underpinned by a general perspective of environmental awareness and an understanding of sustainable development, alongside soft skills that are already recognised as being essential in the workplace, such as design thinking, creativity, adaptability, resilience, and empathy.

Some of the fastest-growing green jobs are in fields like ecosystem management, environmental policy and sustainable procurement although there is no such thing as a single “green industry” anymore. Green jobs are increasingly appearing across a wide range of sectors. Employers increasingly expect all members of their workforce to be actively thinking about how to do their jobs more sustainably. Also, business leaders across industries are setting ambitious goals to become net zero very soon.

Understanding green skills and actively participating in steps to make our college more sustainable will allow you to get ahead of the game and will also get you thinking about how you can apply your newly acquired skills and knowledge to your area of study and future career. This will mean that when you come to take your next steps you will be armed with a catalogue of knowledge, experience and green skills.

Find out more about opportunities on the college Eco-Council by visiting the LRC, VLE or by emailing . Explore our Green Technology courses.

*Sources: Unido.org and Green Skills

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