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Skills Required by the Green Economy Frances Fang, Resource & Information Specialist, Job Skills Employment & Business Services

About the Author

Frances Fang is a Resource & Information Specialist with Job Skills Employment & Business Services. Frances received her diploma in the Career & Work Counsellor Program from George Brown College in 2012. As a previous College ESL Instructor, Frances has extensive work experience with people from diverse background. Frances is currently working at the Employment Resource Centre assisting individuals with their career exploration, job search, career change, job maintenance, and other employment related issues.

We are becoming more aware, with the development of the green economy, that there is a great demand in green careers in the labour market. It is one of the fastest growing sectors in Canada because of the influence of national and provincial policy and investments.

What is a green job? It is traditionally defined as a job related to protecting the environment. From a broader definition, it covers jobs not only in the traditional industries, such as science, engineering, environmental protection, waste management and recycling. It also covers energy management and conservation, humanities, social sciences, business management and laws, manufacturing, installation, distribution, and sales of energy generation and conservation methods. You may find that what you did before is related to one of them.

So finding out what green skills you have or what is transferrable into this sector is the first step to getting into a green career. If you are interested in getting into the green sector, the following steps maybe the best route for you, depending on your situation.
  1. Explore your situation, set up a career goal and make a career plan
    • What is your short-term employment goal?
    • What is your long-term employment goal?
    • What specific direction do you want to go into, as the green sector cover so many occupations?
  2. Figure out your transferrable skills that relate to green careers based on your previous work experience

    All work experience is valuable in this exercise because many of your soft skills as well as hard/technical skills can be transferred and further developed for green skills-related occupations.
  3. Seek out education and training opportunity in universities or colleges, technical institutes and apprenticeship opportunities. Explore programs and resources such as the Second Career training program to assist you with training options and funding options.

    There is a wide range of programs available in this field which includes not only four-year environmental science programs but also some two- or three-year diploma programs. Most of these include co-op opportunities which can provide you hands-on work experience and updated knowledge. According to research at the Environmental Careers Organization of Canada (ECOC), 78% of green jobs require a Bachelor’s degree or higher. So going back to school and pursuing a degree or a diploma is a good choice.
  4. Do research about the green sector, obtain relevant certificates. Approach funded agencies, programs and services such as Employment Ontario Employment Services Centres.
There are many organizations providing employment assistance to people who are interested in working in green economy. Attend career exploration, job search and green-related workshops to focus on your career goal. Keep up to date about new trends, volunteer in green sector occupations and network with professionals in this field – these are all great ways to achieve your goal. In addition, starting with some entry level jobs is another good opportunity as well.

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