Green jobs

Job growth is one of the key measures of any economy and South Africa is no different. According to Statistics SA there was job growth of 2.5% year on year by the end of June 2012. This is quite extraordinary considering most of the world economies have continued their downward spiral over the last 5 years. Of the total labour force of 17 916 000 around 13 477 000 were employed by the end of June 2012. Our unemployment for end June was around 24.9% or 4 470 000 people.

It’s with these statistics in mind that we should carefully evaluate the recent statements at World Environment Day function by Environmental Affairs Minister, Edna Molewa where she said that tens of thousands of new green jobs in South Africa are being filled by young job seekers. She went on to say that her department had created 27 000 opportunities in this financial year and that 10400 of these were permanent. The Minister went on to say that a boost of R800 million from the Green Fund would create a further 63 000 jobs in 2012. This progress is in line the Green Economy Accord which the government recently entered into which seeks to create 300 000 jobs in the green economy by 2020.

These numbers are compelling and we agree with the Minister that the Green Industries can create enormous opportunities for South Africa job seekers. We do however feel that these numbers are very conservative. The green industries span many, many jobs some of which have not yet been invented. In the areas of combating climate change, energy efficiency, waste management, water efficiency, residential eco efficiency, green products, renewable energy, supply chain greening, carbon emissions measurements and reduction, environmental standards implementation, environmental awareness and training and much more we have a deep pool of opportunities where job growth will be extremely hard to assess. In the energy efficiency and renewable energy space alone we believe there will be more than 300 000 new jobs created by 2020. The total number of green jobs created by 2020 could in fact exceed 1 million if all green industry opportunities are taken into account.

With this positive thought in mind we have to add a little dose of reality. These jobs can only exist if we have the training facilities and courses to grow these skills among learners. Today training in the green industries is limited within South Africa with only a few organisations offering courses on these diverse opportunities. As many of these professions are new you will struggle to find a University course that is tailored towards building these skills. What is required are short intense courses that allow learners to quickly pickup skills they can practically use the day they leave the course. Terra Firma Academy offers a number of such courses. Our courses were written by experts in their field and all courses have clear skills outcomes so that learners walk away with something they can immediately use. Our graduates are some of the most successful people in the environmental field that are living inspired lives and helping to spread environmental knowledge throughout businesses and communities.

For more information contact Fred Hagelberg at