EU’s Green Ambitions: Cultivating Skills for a Sustainable Economy and Society

Climate change poses a pressing global challenge, and the European Union (EU) is taking significant strides to address it by fostering a greener future. The EU has designed a series of comprehensive initiatives centred on greening economies and societies, aiming to establish a sustainable, resilient, and climate-neutral continent by 2050, also through green skills development. These initiatives also support the achievement of the EU's 2030 climate and energy targets, which include reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% compared to 1990 levels.

Shaping a greener Europe: Key initiatives

The European Green Deal represents Europe's forward-looking vision for a green transition, focusing on nurturing a sustainable and circular economy. The deal encompasses a wide range of measures, including investing in cutting-edge research and innovation, creating new green jobs, reducing pollution, and enhancing resource efficiency. With €1 trillion mobilized through the European Investment Bank, this comprehensive strategy highlights the essential role that green skills play in enabling citizens and businesses to prosper in an eco-conscious society.

Complementing the European Green Deal is the Green Deal Industrial Plan, an initiative designed to help the industrial sector embrace economic competitiveness while prioritising environmental responsibility. By emphasising innovation, resource efficiency, and green skills development, the plan aims to support industries as they navigate the green transformation. The Industrial Plan includes an allocation of €750 billion through the NextGenerationEU recovery instrument, laying a solid foundation for the green transition.

Encouraging collective climate action

Another notable initiative is the European Climate Pact, which brings individuals, communities, and organisations together to combat climate change. Recognising the potential of green skills in driving sustainable change, the pact has made skills development one of its core priorities. By increasing awareness, fostering collaboration, and promoting innovative solutions, the European Climate Pact is instilling environmental consciousness among European citizens.

The EU's commitment to a sustainable future extends beyond its borders through Green Deal diplomacy and the Green Diplomacy Network. These actions aim to engage with international partners, promoting climate action and environmental protection globally. By sharing best practices and fostering cooperation, the EU is working to ensure that the green transition leaves no one behind.

Recognising and rewarding green skills development

To recognise the efforts in education and training to foster green skills development, the European Training Foundation (ETF) has introduced the Green Skills Award. This call acknowledges initiatives that excel in integrating green skills into their curricula, such as cultivating environmentally aware learners, and encouraging collaborations with local industries. With the Green Skills Award, the ETF showcases the commendable work of educational institutions leading the green transformation at a global level.

In addition to the Green Skills Award, the ETF has been actively involved in various initiatives to foster green skills development. As outlined in our policy briefing Skilling for the green transition, the ETF supports countries in their efforts to develop green skills strategies, provide policy advice, and facilitate peer learning and knowledge sharing. This collaboration and exchange of experiences enable countries to enhance their green skills capacities, preparing their workforce for a sustainable future.

Also, the ETF has launched GRETAGreening Responses to Excellence through Thematic Actions, an initiative supporting the green transition through peer learning. Recognising the opportunities co-learning affords, this initiative aims to develop greening initiatives for vocational education and training centres.

The EU's forward-thinking initiatives in green skills development and sustainable growth demonstrate its strong commitment to tackling climate change, and emphasise its dedication to fostering international cooperation and promoting a greener, brighter future for all. By nurturing a generation equipped with green skills, the EU is paving the way for a sustainable and thriving future, both within Europe and beyond.

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