A recent analysis by the Estonian jobs and skills forecasting system, OSKA, mapped the skills required for the digital and green transition. Its aim was to inform decision-makers in public training resources, policy-makers in the labour market and education, implementers of education policy, education institutions, professional and trade unions, as well as young people and adults who are making education choices.

The analysis highlights the fact that the digital and the green transitions are inevitably linked, as the development of, and investment in, digital technologies creates the preconditions for the green transition. Technological skills need to be combined with the ability to understand natural processes, and sector-specific green skills are increasingly becoming a mandatory part of professional skills.

As digitalisation and automation are expected to have the greatest impact on the future demand for labour and skills in almost all areas of life and the economy, digital skills are mapped with regard to all economic sectors monitored by OSKA. The analysis highlights that greater emphasis should be placed on developing sector-specific ICT skills. As research manager Urve Mets pointed out, instead of the so-called T-competence, where general skills together with the knowledge of related fields form the horizontal branch above a professional competence (vertical branch), we should focus on the π-competence, where the second vertical pillar is occupation-specific digital skills. While the digital skills of managers can be developed through in-service training, skilled workers have to learn sectoral IT skills starting with initial training.

The analysis points out that the level of green competences is inconsistent across different economic sectors. This calls for central leadership to increase knowledge and skill levels. In addition to occupation-specific green skills, knowledge in the fields of management, communication, marketing, ICT and strategic and innovative thinking are of key importance for the achievement of the green transition.

The green transition has the potential to become an engine of growth, creating new jobs, and business and export opportunities in many sectors, for example, in the use of wood as a building material or raw material for the chemical industry. In other areas, it could lead to job losses or shifts from one economic sector to another. For example, employees of the shrinking Estonian oil shale sector could find new jobs in industry, renewable and alternative energy, environmental and green technologies and the circular economy, as well as in the ICT sector. This, however, sets high expectations on VET and higher education institutions to provide the necessary training or re-skilling opportunities.

The mapping of green skills focuses on energy, construction, the chemical industry, water and waste management, transport and logistics, forestry, machinery and metals, and real estate services, where the need for sector-specific green skills is the most obvious, and on creative industries (especially design), education and science (R&D), and public administration (local government level), where these skills can be most efficiently supported and facilitated.

The mapping provides input for updating national VET curricula. With support from the EU Just Transition Fund, it is planned to integrate gradually digital and green skills into vocational training in all areas.

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Summary of key findings  


Please cite this news item as: ReferNet Estonia; Cedefop (2022). Estonia: analysis of skills for digital and green transition informs policy-makers and learners. National news on VET