Skills for the green economy

Building skills for the green economy

Dear Readers 

Welcome to edition No. 22 of the ETF's Learning Connects newsletter. This month we focus on skills development for the green economy. 

The European Union's forward-thinking initiatives in green skills development and sustainable growth as part of the European Green Deal demonstrate its strong commitment to tackling climate change, fostering international cooperation and promoting a greener, brighter future for all.

As a global leader the EU's ambitions are enacted worldwide through its external relations and assistance. This is where the ETF operates, providing support to the reform of education and skills development systems in the EU's neighbouring regions so that people are equipped for changing labour markets and societies

The European Year of Skills that comes to a close in May has given fresh impetus to the importance of lifelong learning to develop the green skills needed to enhance innovation, competitiveness, and inclusion within Europe and beyondGreen skills encompass technical skills that allow for the use of green technologies and processes and transversal skills applicable to all aspects of work and people's lives for environmentally responsible choices and ways of living.

This edition highlights the ETF’s work in building skills for the green economy through data and evidence gathering on the state of play in partner countries, the GRETA peer learning network,  the ETF Green Skills Awards, and support for the development of entreprise and entrepreneurship skills to capture the opportunities of the green transition.

Data evidence and gathering

Through the Torino Process, the ETF monitors policy and system performance in support of vocational education and training (VET) and lifelong learning across various dimensions, including access, quality and relevance, and system efficiency.

A key focus area under quality and relevance is the degree to which the curricula in VET and general education incorporate themes related to the green transition within approximately 23 ETF partner countries to the east and south of the EU.

The findings of the 2022–24 edition of the Torino Process reveal three distinct performance categories for including themes for developing green skills in the curricula: high, mid, and low. Around 20% of all participating countries have scores substantially above the international average; some 50% of countries fall within the mid-range category aligned with the international average, signalling a recognition and ongoing integration of green skills; and the remaining 30% of countries have a low performance with a limited openness of the curricula to the green transition.

"Overall, a positive trend towards valuing green skills has been identified, even in those low-performing countries, reflecting significant efforts to weave these competences into VET programmes and educational systems more generally," says the ETF's Mihaylo Milovanovitch, Coordinator for System Change and Lifelong Learning.

GRETA peer learning network

"A green deal without green training, know-how and expertise will remain forever a fantasy, which is why the ETF has pioneered a programme to incubate, nurture and share green skills," says the ETF's Susanne M. Nielsen, Green Skills Expert and Country Liaison for Ukraine.

Nielsen is the team leader of the ETF's GRETA (Greening Responses to Excellence through Thematic Actions) initiative which connects centres of vocational excellence (CoVEs) across the globe. Read on to hear more about GRETA's growing success building the green skills ecosystem. 

Recognising and rewarding green skills development

With the Green Skills Award, the ETF showcases the work of educational institutions leading the green transformation at a global level. The fourth edition of the Green Skills Award is underway and we look forward to learning more about the many innovative examples of good practice. We are also happy to share details of one of last years winners about a recycling community from one of Europe's up and coming cities, Tbilisi.

Ensuring everyone is ready for the green economy

New technologies and innovations in clean energy and sustainable practices require not only the development of new skills but the updating of existing ones due to the transformation of existing professions. The ETF is working at sectoral level in its partner countries, particularly the agri-food sector, engaging with all stakeholders and particularly business representatives and associations to ensure skills development allowing the sector to thrive within the green economy. We are pleased to present the experience of successful entrepreneur Sofija Daceva from North Macedonia.

The ETF’s work on future skills shows that the greening of jobs often requires higher technical knowledge and skills which presents obstacles especially for lower skilled, vulnerable and marginalised groups and individuals. Within all its activities the ETF works with a wide range of stakeholders involved in green skills development in particular civil society organisations, as explained by the ETF's Siria Taurelli in a recent interview, to ensure everyone including the most vulnerable and marginalised can develop green skills to access and benefit from the green economy.

To know more, throughout March and April 2024 the ETF’s communication campaign on all our media channels will focus on activities, challenges and success stories for developing skills for the green economy.

Check out ETF webpage Green skills, policy briefing Skilling for the green transition and brief report Skills for the green transition.