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International Green Skills Network

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The challenge today is to achieve a low carbon economy with an ever increasing demand for energy. This should be seen as a need and an opportunity. In order for Australian workers to realise the opportunities this presents, the skills developed through work and education should focus increasingly on ‘green skills’ - those skills which support a sustainable future.

This change in the way skills, knowledge, attitudes and values are taught is not just in the area of renewable energy, waste and recycling, energy efficiency, green buildings and sustainability business strategies which are quite specialised jobs, but also more broadly across all sectors including business, tourism, hospitality, information technology, financial institutions, etc. This means greening existing jobs and this is particularly important in emission intensive industries such as construction and manufacturing.

In Australia, we need leaders and educators who understand the need to move to a greener economy and are planning for it. And we need workers from all sectors who understand the importance of changing practices to become more sustainable, have the necessary specialised skills, and act accordingly.The principles of sustainability, sustainable growth and sustainable wellbeing have now become a fundamental tenet in Australian policy, as expressed recently through Dr Martin Parkinson, Secretary to the Australian Treasury.  Secretary Parkinson, in delivering the Edward Shann Memorial Address, outlined the Treasury’s recently reviewed sustainable wellbeing framework that recognizes that well-being is broader than Gross Domestic Product (GDP), that sustainability is more than environmental issues, and that energy, resource and environmental efficiencies are key drivers of productivity.

It is our hope that the International Green Skills Network will become a catalyst to drive more of the change needed to green our workforce and ensure a more sustainable future.