Developing and using green skills for the transition to a low carbon economy

Author: Mike Brown, LaTrobe University

Edition: Volume 55, Number 2, July 2015

Summary:  One of the strategies being advocated in response to climate change is the need to transition to a low carbon economy. Current projections show that within this transition, new jobs will be created, some eliminated and most others subjected to change. This article reports findings from interviews with a selection of twenty participants who are involved in the formation and/or deployment of green skills. The participants were asked about their perceptions of (1) how jobs are changing in the transition to a green economy (2) how are adult learners developing and using green skills, and (3) what are some of the main drivers and blockers to the development and use of green skills. The data are presented as vignettes from various positions of supply and demand within the emerging green economy. The findings of this study report that the organisations and the training providers are motivated to develop and/or deploy green jobs and green skills for a range of different reasons. These include the making of a favourable business case, environmental beliefs about conserving the finite resources of the planet and, for health and wellbeing reasons. Some blockers that have been identified are the initial capital outlay for any changes, and the need to address some inconsistencies that arise over time in the financial arrangements when trying to work out the business case. This has led the designers and contractors working in renewable energy to call for a level playing field with those who provide and utilise finite resources and non-renewable energy. Overall transition to a low carbon and green economy is shown to be supported and occurring with some limited success. However there is a need for further larger scale research into this area of skill formation and deployment.

Keywords: Skills for sustainability, green skills, low carbon economy, green jobs, education for sustainability


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This article is part of AJAL, Volume 55_2. The entire volume is available in .pdf for purchase here.

Posted in Refereed article, Research report