Skills policies responding to global drivers of change: Technology, trade and climate change
6.3.2. Mitigation: Skills and capabilities for “green” jobs
402. A broad range of new and different skills at the vocational, technical and
managerial levels are needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and facilitate the
transition to low-carbon economies. Renewable energy and energy-efficient technologies,
as well as policies and institutions advocating a shift from carbon-intensive to low-
carbon activities are increasing the demand for new and different skills for “green jobs”,
while the skills used in so-called “brown” jobs will be in decline (Jochem and Madlener,
403. Various studies, mainly in industrialized countries, have estimated the potential net
employment effect of mitigation policies.
However, as in the case of technology and
trade, which are discussed above, if the potential is to be realized, economies require
new, diversified and greater skills (ILO, 2007k). These include high-level skills for
research and development in new technologies, technical skills related to the installation,
operation and maintenance of energy-efficient buildings, and the many core skills
required to support the implementation of reforms and changes.
404. Many countries are developing training policies and programmes to meet the
“green” skills profile of new or upgraded occupations. In the United States, the Green
Jobs Act of 2007 authorizes up to US$120 million a year in funding for the training of
workers for jobs in the clean energy sector to design, manufacture, install, operate and
maintain a host of innovative renewable energy and energy-efficient technologies.
There is also increasing demand for new occupational skills from artisans, architects and
construction engineers as a consequence of green or energy-efficient building and
rehabilitation in Germany, stimulated by the German Alliance for Work and the
Environment, a joint agreement between the Government, employers’ organizations,
trade unions and environmental NGOs. Private training providers, universities, chambers
of commerce and business organizations, such as regional crafts associations, have
responded and developed continuous training programmes (UNEP, 2007).
405. In South Africa, technological catching up in the renewable energy sector has been
coordinated with skills development programmes. The Government’s White Paper on
Renewable Energy (2003) supports the establishment of renewable energy technologies
(solar water heating and biofuels) with the potential to create 35,000 jobs. The
Government is designing new occupational skills in agriculture, for example to grow oil-
bearing crops for bio-diesel and for solar heating (Visagie and Prasad, 2006). In China,
the Government adopted the 2003–10 National Rural Biogas Construction Plan,
providing new employment opportunities for many unemployed farmers in rural areas.
In order to meet the shortage of technical capacity for the operation and maintenance of
the digesters in Shanxi Province, 40 training courses were held and by 2005 over 4,000
people had been awarded the National Biogas Professional Technician Certificate
(Kuhndt and Machiba, 2007). Further research continues, not only on skills and markets
for biofuels, but also on their long-term environmental costs and benefits.
406. In the waste and recycling sector, competences and social capabilities are needed
for the technical mastery and management of the process, as well as to devise new
technologies and facilitate the emergence of new generations of designers and product
developers who take fully into account the composition of the materials used for the
manufacture of products. Skills and competencies of this type are still largely missing in
universities and TVET institutions, and in the business and public sectors. Japan has
See, for example, European Commission, 2005; Apollo Alliance, 2004; Kuhndt and Machiba, 2008.
For details, see http://www.worldwatch.org (Oct. 2007).