What is Green Reskilling?
Written By: Elle Eyestone
Edited By: Ada Collins
Green reskilling is the process of retraining workers - often from fossil fuel industries - to work in the green economy.
As governments and economies continue to prioritize green technology and move toward net-zero emissions, there has been a spike in demand for workers in green energy. Over the last five years, jobs in renewables and the environment have increased by 237 percent in the United States, and within the next decade millions of new jobs are expected to be created. However, the labor market has not been able to fully accommodate this drastic shift toward renewable energy.
The green energy industry is accessible to workers from various levels of education, but it requires certain skills that many workers - particularly coming from fossil fuel industries - did not acquire during their previous careers. Fossil fuel workers that look to shift into the green economy must be taught new, necessary skills to work in a new industry; these skills become more complex as the technology to produce energy becomes more complex. In many countries, government sponsored financial support for reskilling is low, and many workers have to pay for their own reskilling. For example, a survey conducted in Ireland of more than 600 oil and gas workers found that contractors spend an average of £1,800 annually on training.
Governments can aid in the shift to renewable energy by investing in training programs and encouraging workers to shift toward a greener career to match their green investments in sustainability projects (renewable energy, digital grid, and so on). Some companies, such as BP and Equinor, simplify the process by paying for the reskilling of their employees; however, without governmental support, these programs become very expensive and are difficult to sustain. John Underhill, the energy transition director at Aberdeen University, explains that to simplify the reskilling process, relieve the workers and businesses of the financial responsibility of retraining, and encourage the labor market shift towards renewable energy, governments must make investments in retraining workers.
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