Sustainability and green training in vocational education

As the world grapples with pressing environmental challenges, integrating sustainable principles into vocational education has become essential

February 17, 2024 03:10 pm | Updated 03:11 pm IST

Global production is currently at the crossroads of two intertwined transitions: the green and the digital. 

Global production is currently at the crossroads of two intertwined transitions: the green and the digital.  | Photo Credit: Freepik

Over the past decade, many industries have started incorporating green practices, creating the need for skilled individuals who can support a sustainable digital economy. India’s ongoing transition to a green economy presents the potential of creating 50 million net new jobs by 2070. This heightened concern about environmental issues and the pressing need for sustainable practices have transformed vocational education.

Traditional vocational education has long been associated with preparing students for hands-on careers, from electricians and plumbers to welders and automotive technicians. However, the impact of these vital fields and their activities on the environment has often been overlooked. This is where sustainability and green training in vocational education come into play.

Strike a balance

Modern vocational education curriculum strikes a balance between teaching technical skills and the environmental implications of the chosen careers. For instance, including biodiversity conservation and waste management in the curriculum encourages students to consider the environmental consequences of their actions in the workplace. Integrating green training in vocational education helps foster an ecological mindset and helps build a sustainable world by creating awareness of the efficient use of resources to ensure reduced waste and other sustainable practices.

Global production is currently at the crossroads of two intertwined transitions: the green and the digital. Together the two are often referred to as the twin transitions that are reshaping the landscape of production and consumption. According to a report by Forbes India, Indian companies are increasingly recruiting a workforce skilled in climate action. The report also states that the role of a sustainability manager saw a total growth of 28.6% since 2016, making it the fastest-growing green job across APAC, with India seeing a 16% growth in demand.

Green jobs can be found in all sectors, including agriculture, industry, services, and administration, and they encompass roles that protect ecosystems, reduce resource consumption, decarbonise the economy, and minimise waste and pollution. A global study by the International Labour Organization (ILO), covering 21 countries, reveals that skills profiles within existing occupations will undergo significant changes to make all jobs greener. In this rapidly evolving landscape, there is a growing need to develop a wide range of skills that should also enhance learners’ creative, entrepreneurial, and innovative skills, grounded in critical reflection on attitudes and values, a core aspect of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).

The writer is Chief Strategy Officer, TeamLease Degree Apprenticeship.

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