Report

Skills for Green Jobs in Europe – No common approach to and no definition of it

Preparing for sustainable growth within the context of a circular economy is an accepted policy aim across the globe.

The implications for economic sectors, and consequently for occupations, skills and relevant policies, are undeniable. In 2010 Cedefop collaborated with the International Labour Organization and reviewed the state of play regarding ‘green skills’ and ‘green jobs’ in six EU countries (Denmark, Germany, Spain, Estonia, France and the UK). A European synthesis report built on the six country reports.

In 2017, the collaboration was repeated to ascertain progress made since 2010: this report provides a synthesis of the six new country reports. It examines the major changes in green jobs and employment since 2010, and analyses the regulations and policies supporting green skills and employment, including the surrounding institutional set-up and the role played by social partners. It also highlights good practices, including green skill anticipation mechanisms, relevant vocational education and training and higher education, active labour market policies and retraining measures, and the role of the private sector.


Cedefop and the International Labour Organization (ILO) worked together in 2010 on the Skills for green jobs report, based on country studies. Cedefop reported on six EU countries: Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Spain, France and the UK; a European synthesis report based on these countries was also developed. The report explored the policy context, the role of stakeholders and vocational education and training (VET), while identifying good practices on meeting the challenges posed by new ‘green jobs’ and the ‘greening’ of existing occupations (4). This collaboration was repeated in 2017, to follow up on national developments in ‘green jobs and skills’ since 2010.

This report provides a synthesis of information analysed in the six country reports of 2018 (5). It examines major changes in green jobs and employment since 2010, and analyses the regulations and policies supporting green skills and employment, including the surrounding institutional set-up and the role played by social partners. It also analyses green skills development policies, including green skill anticipation mechanisms, relevant provision in VET and higher education (HE), active labour market policies (ALMPs) and retraining measures, and the role of the private sector.
The first key finding is that, across the six countries, there is no common approach to, and thus no definition of, green skills and jobs. Even within countries, it has often been hard for the concept to be pinned down, and sometimes de nitions continue to evolve.

How ‘green’ terms (skills, jobs, economy) are perceived and categorised in the six countries is detailed below.

A number of conclusions can be drawn from the findings:

(a) since 2010, different countries have experienced different patterns in the development of green skills and jobs and have defined green jobs and green skills in various ways. This poses a particular challenge for skills anticipation if a reliable picture is to be built up across Europe regarding the supply of, and demand for, green skills. With that aim in mind, there appears to be an opportunity for countries to share their knowledge and understanding about how to de ne and estimate green skills; and subsequently about designing and implementing effective policy and training initiatives to foster green jobs and address respective skill needs;

(b) green skills and green jobs tend to be dealt with as a part of different policies and strategies covering environmental as well as employment and skills issues. Good coordination among these policy elds and relevant policies is necessary to ensure a comprehensive national approach to green skills and jobs;

(c) green skills are typically covered by general skills anticipation mechanisms,
one-off studies and sector-based and regional/local approaches;
consequently, green skills tend to be dealt with ad hoc;

(d) continuing monitoring and evaluation of policies and/or activities relevant to green skills are rare. Little or no consideration has so far been given to gender balance in occupations a ected by the greening of the economy, even where requisite data are available.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at Skills for green jobs: 2018 update | Cedefop

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