Eco-prosperity: Upskilling the future workforce – People Matters

In today’s fast-changing economy, nurturing green skills is crucial for driving economic prosperity and promoting environmental sustainability. With industries globally adopting eco-friendly practices and technologies, the need for a workforce proficient in green skills is on the rise. This underscores the importance of strategically prioritising the upskilling of both current and future employees to ensure they are well-prepared to excel in an economy focused on sustainability.
As the world transitions towards environmentally friendly practices, the demand for skills related to renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable design, and environmental stewardship is increasing. This shift impacts traditional industries and creates new opportunities for individuals to upskill and reskill. 
Employers recognise the importance of integrating green skills into their workforce to drive sustainability initiatives, comply with regulations, and meet the expectations of environmentally conscious consumers. This trend is reshaping the job market, leading to the emergence of roles such as sustainability specialists, renewable energy engineers, carbon footprint analysts, and green technology consultants.
According to the ‘TeamLease Digital’s Green Industry Outlook’ report, India is ranked 5th among the top 25 countries with relatively high green skill intensity in 2022. The report found that the green talent in the workforce rose by 12.3 percent between 2022 and 2023. Indicating rising demand for eco-conscious roles, job postings requiring at least one green skill rose by 22.4 per cent, a substantial percentage for India, given its 1.4 billion population. This data reflects the evolving priorities of both businesses and societies. Further, what is more encouraging is that LinkedIn’s Global Green Skills Report has rated India above the global average in terms of the availability of green skills.

Proficiency in environmentally conscious skills and a skilled and talented green workforce on a broad scale is imperative for the forthcoming landscape of various industries. These competencies enable workers to seamlessly navigate evolving technologies and markets while capitalising on regulations influenced by environmental and social considerations. Additionally, they play a pivotal role in fostering innovation, entrepreneurship, and competitiveness within the economy, which increasingly offers new opportunities. According to findings from the International Labour Organization (ILO), the worldwide shift towards a green economy can generate 24 million fresh employment opportunities by the year 2030.

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Moreover, the rise of green skills is influencing educational institutions and training providers to offer programs that cater to the growing demand for sustainability expertise. This includes curriculum enhancements, specialised certifications, and vocational training tailored to equip individuals with the knowledge and competencies needed to thrive in a green economy.
The government too has played a crucial role in propelling transformative change in workforce development. This commitment is exemplified by initiatives such as the Green Skill Development Programme (GSDP) initiated by India’s Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC). Through short-term training courses, the GSDP aims to equip youth with environmental knowledge. Additionally, the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) has taken strides through the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS). This scheme provides financial incentives to employers who engage apprentices in designated or optional trades, including green skills. 
Organisations can look at launching awareness programs and initiatives like Sustainability School to bring about a cultural shift in the mindset of the employees. Where employees can learn about sustainability challenges and how to take action at both personal and professional levels.
The rapid digitalisation across large enterprises and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) is expected to create a significant demand for professionals skilled in computer science, software, data science, and engineering in 2024. It is evident that combining such expertise with green skills, including knowledge of sustainable materials, energy-efficient technologies, environmental regulations, and eco-friendly packaging, will prepare the youth for the future workplace. These green skills will drive organisational transformation and propel India towards its net-zero goals.
As we progress with renewed dedication and resolve, all companies must prioritise investing in upskilling their teams to ensure they are prepared for the future. Furthermore, collaborative efforts among educational institutions, businesses, and the government are crucial in driving this transformation. The implementation of policies that support education, financial assistance, and apprenticeship subsidies fosters an environment conducive to developing a highly skilled workforce. Organisations should strive to maintain high employee morale and motivate individuals to enhance their skills for their professional advancement.
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