South Africa is committed to becoming a low carbon economy and to reducing our carbon emissions by 34% by 2020. The demand for skilled professionals in the carbon and energy sectors is rising. Predictions around job creation from these industries are very promising.
The GreenPeace Energy Sector Jobs to 2030 report predicts that the opportunities offered by the renewable energy sector alone could result in the creation of 78 000 direct jobs and thousands of indirect jobs in less than 20 years.
SA’s now Ex- Water and Environmental Affairs minister, Buyelwa Sonjica, recently signed an agreement with provincial MEC’s responsible for the environmental portfolio. Ensuring environmental assets and natural resources are valued, protected and enhanced is known as “outcome 10” of government’s 12 outcomes. The environmental sector expanded public works programme (EPWP) would be scaled up to carry out the activities outlined under outcome 10. It was expected that 1,15-million EPWP work opportunities would be created by 2014. Another 325 652 full time jobs were also expected to be created by 2014.
The growth of the green industry is clear. The question is, who will fill these jobs and will they be able to perform them effectively? There is clearly a need in South Africa to develop strong capacity within the green industry and related technologies. All these predictions will fail to come true if we don’t have the skilled workers to fill these jobs created. Capacity building and skills transfer is vital for a country like ours that is still in its infancy when it comes to sustainability.
Corporate South Africa is also seeing the value in upskilling their staff. Every day, employees in organizations make decisions with far-reaching environmental and social consequences. When these employees begin to understand the impact of their decisions, they consider the options more carefully. The business case for employee education is a strong one with benefits such as improved operational efficiency, innovation, supply chain management, attracting and retaining employees, strengthening customer relations as well as strengthening community ties.
What are the training options out there?
Most South African universities offer Environmental Management degrees and Engineering degrees that are suitable for those students who are embarking on their green careers or those interested in long term studying. But what about those people who want to join this exciting industry or gain an additional skill to add to their existing portfolio? Short training programmes are easily accessible to gain these types of skills quickly. We’ve researched the green training market in South Africa and found the short term programmes that are available currently. Below is a list of training providers, the short term courses they offer as well as a brief description of the courses they offer. We have specifically omitted the degree programmes from our research as there are too many to mention.
|Business Day/Nedbank||Greening your business||A digital course to help you get a grip on what is required to assess your organisation’s position and risk, and formulate policy in line with legislative and international requirements, helping set your company on the road to sustainability.|
|Crystal Clear||Carbon Footprint Management Course||This course provides practical training in how to calculate and reduce the carbon footprint of your organisation, product or service and achieve environmental improvements and cost savings.|
|Energy Cybernetics||Certified Energy Manager Course (CEM)||This special in-depth five-day seminar is ideal for professionals who seek a more detailed program of instruction covering the technical, economic and regulatory aspects of effective energy management. The program offers a comprehensive learning and problem-solving forum for those who want a broader understanding of the latest energy cost reduction techniques and strategies|
|Energy Training Foundation||Certified Energy Auditor Course (CEA)||The CEA certification is one that identifies professionals as having the required knowledge and experience needed to succeed in the growing field of energy auditing.|
|Energy Training Foundation||Certified Carbon Reduction Manager (CRM)||Carbon Reduction Manager (CRM) program that is designed to provide recognition for professionals who have distinguished themselves as leaders in the growing field of carbon reduction|
|GBCSA||Green Star SA Accredited Professional Course||The Green Star SA Accredited Professional course provides practitioners with an understanding of the Green Star SA rating system and the ability to apply Green Star SA tools to projects.|
|IMBEWU Sustainability Legal Specialists||Climate Change & Carbon Markets||The course covers Climate change market briefing and policy update, Developing carbon projects, CDM legal training|
|Metamorphosis Environmental Consultants||Environmental Impact Assessment Training||This 1 day course will provide a practical overview of the application of the EIA regulations and the legislation which drives them. Training will be given on the appropriate approach to the EIA process, using specific examples and exercises to reinforce the learning experience.|
|Metamorphosis Environmental Consultants||Real World EIA||This course will run over 3 days, it will deal with the practical application of the basic assessment and EIA regulations. The course includes a description of EIA triggers, and an overview of all applicable legislation as well as authority requirements.|
|GRI||Sustainability Reporting using the GRI||This two-day course offers practical examples, presentations, interactive discussion and actual evaluation of published sustainability reports to provide insight into the GRI’s reporting framework. Further, it puts sustainability in context with an overview of international and local developments and best practice.|
In order to embark on your green career, you need to decide which environmental sector interests you, find a course that suits your needs and go for it. Speaking from experience, it is a truly rewarding career path filled with challenges, opportunities and lots of room to grow. And you get to add ‘Saving the Planet’ to your CV. Pretty cool if you ask me.
By Timea Kulcsar.