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Critical thinking, problem-solving key to new green economy    

Te Whanganui-a-Tara – Critical thinking and problem-solving will be among the key skills needed in the next five years for the new global green sustainable economy.

Farming, architecture, science and teaching are some of the sectors that will need new green skills, according to the United Nations environment programme.

Almost half of young people feel they don’t have the right skills, according to the World Economic Forum’s youth recovery plan 2021.

In the World Economic Forum’s jobs future report 2020, employers estimate that four in 10 workers will need to be reskilled.

Making smart decisions today could set up the world’s young people for success in the green jobs of tomorrow.

But shaping those decisions can be tricky as many of those future jobs don’t yet exist.

The United Nations has stepped in with a helping hand in the shape of GEO-6 for Youth – a digital guide on sustainable career choices and the skills required to thrive in green industries.

The green economy of the future will be heavily reliant on workers with a strong science background. These trends are key to young New Zealand people considering careers.

Key roles will include environmental scientists, biologists, hydrologists and biochemists. People in these jobs will monitor, manage and protect natural resources including land and valuable water supplies.

Buildings will become more energy efficient, with fewer resources used to construct and operate them. Architects and planners will design these buildings to comply with environmental regulations and client demands for green spaces.

Today’s young people will be tomorrow’s green engineers, helping to design and maintain solar panels, wind turbines, low emissions vehicles and other green economy technology.

As farming and food supply becomes more sustainable, there’ll be a growing number of green jobs in areas such as organic farming, urban farming and precision agriculture. This involves using data to measure and improve farming efficiency.

Millions of new jobs and careers will be created in the green economy. But creating new jobs is only part of the equation. Developing an appropriately skilled workforce is critical.

According to the World Economic Forum, almost half of young people feel they don’t have the right skills to guarantee them a dignified job in the next five to 10 years.

Their report on youth sets out 40 policy recommendations by young people aged between 20 and 30. These include offering tax credits to companies investing in reskilling or upskilling – and creating an online skills aggregator that pairs the future skills needs of cities with upskilling or reskilling initiatives.

The demand for green skills is particularly acute in the energy industry. Alongside engineering roles, diverse skills like behaviour change, digitalisation and data will also be needed.

Technology adoption is a key driver in the development of skills required for emerging sectors. On average, companies estimate that around 40 percent of workers will require reskilling.