Environmental change has been one of the key drivers of labour demand and skills supply across all sectors for the past years. Cedefop has been exploring the implications on jobs and skills for over a decade now. Since 2019, the European Green Deal (EGD) is the EU's new growth strategy, aiming at transforming the EU into a fair and prosperous society, with a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy where there are no net emissions of greenhouse gases in 2050 and where economic growth is decoupled from resource use. Leaving no person and no place behind this transition is another pillar of the EGD.

Implementing the EGD will affect all EU sectors and occupations, albeit in different intensities and directions. To better understand the implications in jobs and skills, as well as the role of VET in supporting the green transition, Cedefop's relevant work explores employment effects, skill requirements and implications for vocational education and training (VET) at EU, sectoral and occupational level. The main aims are to investigate the expected impact of the EGD and other EU environmental and climate change policies on future skills demand within and across sectors, and to provide insights for effective training and education policies and initiatives.

To learn more about Cedefop's recent work on skills and jobs for the green transition, you can listen to our podcast.

Sectoral skills foresight (2021- )

Cedefop runs sectoral skills foresight exercises with a forward-looking approach to understand which are the occupations/skill profiles that are necessary for the transition of selected sectors towards a "greener" future, so to accommodate the implications of the European Green Deal; and how could or should vocational education and training (VET) support the development of such skill sets.

Although impact is expected across the economy, some sectors are foreseen to be affected more intensely. Sectoral stakeholders and other interested parties that are involved in the provision of skills training would significantly benefit from the identification of new/emerging skills that will affect (or are already affecting) specific occupations; the ways to make their skill systems more responsive to these rapid changes in the short-term, but also ways to facilitate their response to skill changes in the medium/longer-term.

Skills foresight exercises are running for smart and green cities; waste management; agri-food and circular economy.

For more information on the methodology followed and the list of experts that supported each foresight exercise, please click here.


The green employment and skills transformation (2020-2021)

Based on a Cedefop skills forecast scenario, this publication offers results and insights on the implications of the implementation of the European Green Deal on employment and skills in the EU. The results highlight the expected effects in sectors and occupations, as well as opportunities and challenges for providing effective and timely upskilling and reskilling opportunities.


Skills for green jobs (2017-2019)

In 2017, Cedefop and the ILO agreed to update the country studies produced for the report Skills for Green Jobs: A Global View (2011). Cedefop updated reports for six EU countries (Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Spain, France and the UK).

A European Synthesis report based on the six reports and a video presenting the results of the reports are available.

Cedefop’s video on skills for green jobs was used in ILO’s video on Boosting skills for green jobs, available here.

Cedefop country reports:

The updated studies served as a background for ILO’s World Employment and Social Outlook 2018: Greening with jobs.


Other Green skills activities (2012-14)


Sustainable energy (2012-13)

A more efficient, conservative use of energy across all sectors and a greater use of renewable energy sources are essential to foster transition to sustainable and secure energy in Europe. Achieving the energy and employment targets provided within Europe 2020 strategy it is however not without challenges. Investigating the expected impact of sustainable energy policies on future skills demand is necessary to inform effective employment, education and training policies in this area.


Green skills (2011-12)

The impact of developing a sustainable, green economy on employment and skill demands is uneven over time, across countries, regions and types of work and occupation. Consistent regulation, sustained government incentives and the mainstreaming of green economic development across employment and skills policies are important mechanisms to support a smooth transition. Improved provision of guidance on green jobs and forecasting of skill needs are needed to avert bottlenecks and facilitate VET responses.


Green jobs (2010-12)

The move to sustainable development creates an enormous potential for job creation. These jobs are powered by environmental policy, market demands, investment in new technology and innovation. In the future, almost every job will potentially be a “green” job. Considering the significant socio-economic externalities, the case for government support to drive this forward is clear. Understanding the environmental implications of an occupation needs to be mainstreamed into education and training systems.


Green economy (2008-09)

The expansion of the green economy is being accelerated by concerns relating to energy generation, resource use and environmental management. Europe sets the pace in the drive to a low-carbon economy based on renewables to substitute for fossil fuels and energy conservation for efficient energy use. Skills are a critical ingredient in setting coherent education, training, employment and environmental targets.

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Stelina Chatzichristou
Expert in skills trends and intelligence