Green Skills

The Green Skills Revolution: Preparing the Future Workforce

As old jobs become obsolete and new jobs are invented, it is crucial to push the development of green skills to make future economies sustainable.


The ongoing pandemic has brought new challenges to many facets of human life, drastically changing how we work and live. The crisis has been an especially large obstacle for young people entering the job market. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), one out of six people between 18-29 had left the workforce since the outbreak of the pandemic. The study also disclosed that young people had a reduction of 23% in their working hours and a 42% cut in their incomes.

Yet, even before COVID-19 and its economic disruptions, governments faced pressure to address drops in productivity led by skills mismatch – a discrepancy between the skills needed in the job market (demand) and what individuals can do (supply). As old jobs become obsolete and advancing technology creates new ones, more workers find that their career skills are not as relevant as they once were.

Looking further, if this unbalanced setting is not given utmost importance, it will further widen the gap. According to a report from Dell Technologies, 85% of the jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t been invented yet. Consequently, in 10 years, more than half of today’s children will work on unknown jobs. Furthermore, digitalization and automation have started affecting low-specialized jobs, creating vulnerable categories of employees, women and youths in particular.

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When preparing for the future, it is also essential to consider the impact of climate change: implementing green skills in today’s and tomorrow’s economy will help mitigate climate impacts and create opportunities. Studies show that a green approach will also have a positive impact on job production, a crucial selling point for developing economies that can’t afford a job decrease. In the energy sector, for example, an estimated 18 million extra jobs will be created globally by 2030 if the world makes strides towards sustainability. Moreover, the creation of these additional jobs will come with a 41% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the same year.

Seizing a holistic approach, therefore, it is necessary to invest in skills development and lifelong learning opportunities to ensure an inclusive and sustainable industrial development (ISID) in the years to come.

To move towards this goal, the Learning and Knowledge Development Facility (LKDF), a platform by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), is promoting a virtual forum for the discussion of “Green Skills for a Sustainable Future.” In collaboration with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), the European Training Foundation (ETF), and WorldSkills International, UNIDO’s LKDF will convene experts, partners, and interested audiences to deliberate on green skills identification and promotion.

Green Skills promotion in the LKDF Forum

The LKDF Forum will take place on 6-8 October 2020. On the first day, UNIDO Director General Mr. Li Yong, will be joined by high-level dignitaries in an opening ceremony, followed by the launch of a report on green skills. A series of interactive sessions will discuss topics spanning from the skills the industrial sector is seeking to promote sustainability, how educational systems can develop such skills, and how the digital revolution can promote green skills development. The forum will also include innovative entrepreneurs recognized in Forbes 30 under 30, Young Leaders for SDGs, senior representatives from Volvo, HP, FESTO Didactic, Huawei, and many others. The third and last day, which is invitation-only, will host a design thinking workshop to find solutions towards green skills development in emerging economies.

We appreciate Impakter for supporting the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and for being a partner of the LKDF Forum 2020.

Registrations for the Forum can be done by clicking here. Full coverage of the event will be published on Impakter.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of – In the Featured Photo: Solar Panel Installation. Featured Photo Credit: Flickr

About the Author /

Riccardo serves as Chief of the Agro-Industries and Skills Development Division (AIS) within the Department of Agri-Business of UNIDO. The Division consists of 35 colleagues at HQ and around 400 experts in the field. The AIS portfolio is built on interventions related to industrial development, including skills development, agricultural mechanization, digitalization and creative industry as well as a number of commodity value-chain programs. In his previous position as project manager, Riccardo developed multifocal projects, aiming at promoting technology innovation, ensuring better economic return, fostering social inclusion and safeguarding the environment at the same time. Riccardo holds a PhD in Plant Pathology and Pest Management and conducted researches on economic impact of agro-industries to local communities, including innovative models to identify and quantify externalities from various agri-businesses.

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