A new research project will identify the skills that workers need to succeed in Canada’s budding green economy. The Green Skills project, a partnership between CERIC and the Green Skills Network, will inform career counsellors about entry-level jobs in the renewable energy and conservation sectors.

“With employers and governments investing in the environment, we expect to see a dramatic increase in green jobs. What kind of knowledge, skills and experience will be required?” says Nancy Schaefer, President of the CERIC Board of Directors. “This exciting project advances CERIC’s mission by exposing career counsellors and job developers to green career paths in this emerging area.”

Green jobs – which can include manufacturing, installation, distribution and sales of energy generation and conservation methods in solar, wind, biogas and hydro as well as insulation and LEED building techniques – continue to experience significant growth. Recent policy changes across the country have spurred economic development in these sectors. In Ontario alone, the provincial government projects the creation of 50,000 new green jobs over the next three years.

“This project fills a definite gap,” says Matt Wood, Executive Director of First Work, which runs the Green Skills Network. “It will help career counsellors better inform their clients regarding new and sustainable employment opportunities as well as education and training prospects in the green economy.”

These positions can be for any age of worker, but will be of particular interest to youth looking to get their first jobs, Wood says. “The best entry-level positions offer not only employment but expose clients to higher skills and higher learning opportunities. These better entry-level jobs are more commonly found in growing sectors like the green industry.”

The project will also develop an evaluation framework, which will be applied to five existing green jobs programs. The findings of these evaluations will be shared with career counsellors and employment centres across Canada and will act as a guide for centres wishing to implement their own renewable energy and conservation jobs programs.

Another benefit of the research will be contacts for referrals to employers and trainers. The project will develop connections with green labour training institutions where career counselling clients can learn new skills and with companies that will be hiring the next generation of installers, technicians, engineers and designers in the green economy.

The research will be disseminated to over 200 career counsellors across Canada and results will be communicated through multiple workshops.

About Green Skills Network

The Green Skills Network, an initiative of FirstWork, builds connections between employment services and industry to train and place youth in entry-level positions within the green economy. First Work (formerly OAYEC) supports and advocates for a sustainable youth employment delivery network in Ontario. For more information, please see www.greenskillsnetwork.ca.