The Australian Government last week announced that it commit $25.7 million over four years to advance green jobs training under a project it is calling Skills for the Carbon Challenge in their media release:
Skills for the Carbon Challenge will drive the development and trial of qualifications and training resources that incorporate sustainability principles, green skills and responsive educational approaches in a number of key industries.
The release goes on to report that there will be "a focus on occupations that are most affected by climate change", Apparently the government believe this is the plumbing, heating, ventilation and air conditioning trades, although they also indicate that the building and electrical professions might also be assisted.
Although heavily worded in bureaucrat-speak the media release appears to suggest that 5,000 Australian apprentices will be assisted annually to attain a threshold level of sustainability skills related training.
The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) are jointly pleased with the announcement, saying "We hope this Federal Government initiative will be the start of a more ambitious long term plan for green collar job creation."
The ACF had earlier commissioned their own report Growing the Green Collar Economy in which they determined that in high environmental impact industries 3.25 million workers will need to be equipped with new, more sustainable skills.
The national program proposed by the government has sprung from the Australia 2020 Summit held in April 2008 where the federal government invited 1,000 participants to present their best ideas for building a modern Australia ready for the challenges of the 21st century.
The Sustainability Stream (RTF link) of the Summit came up with the following recommendations to which the government has responded with the above announcement.
• Introduce a world-class climate change education program that includes developing applied science capacity, green economy skills and training, a clean energy corps, and 'eco-education' embedded in schoolÂ curricula.
• Facilitate investment in technology, infrastructure and industry skills to achieve greater diversity in supply.
• Foster multi-disciplinary cross-industry training and skills development in the water industry — including hydrology, climatology, ecology and economics.