ILO training on Skills for a Greener Future: building resilience and entering the path to sustainable development in Ethiopia

Through its Global Programme on Skills & Lifelong Learning (GPSL3) in Ethiopia, the International Labour Organization (ILO) has conducted a three-day training on “skills for a greener future”, which is the first of its kind in the region. The training took place at Bahirdar, Amhara regional state, from 14 - 16 February 2022.

News | 15 March 2022
Contact(s): Alemayehu Zewdie:
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (News): Sustainable green skills are of particular importance in places where the effects of climate change have been undermining growth and development efforts. Many countries, like Ethiopia, among the poorest, lack the skills to get through the damaging effects of climate change and the resulting environmental degradation. Right skills for green jobs are the prerequisite to make the transition to a greener economy happen. These “green skills” provide an opportunity to build resilience and ultimately enter the path to a more sustainable development. The availability of the right skills paves the way for a productive and structural transformation towards a greener economy and has the potential to create millions of decent jobs (Read more: Skills for a greener future: a global view, 2019).

The main objective of the training was to provide information and raise awareness among selected stakeholders on the need for reskilling and upskilling to realize the employment potential of the transition to environmental sustainability (the “green transition”). As a first step, the training focused on international frameworks of the green transition. In a second step, participants discussed related thematic areas including environmental sustainability and decent work, the driving forces for skills change, employment and the green economy, the role of social dialogue in boosting skills development for green jobs as well as the protection of workers and the environment.

On the one hand, the transition to an environmentally sustainable and low-carbon economy will bring new employment opportunities in sustainable construction, organic agriculture, renewable energy, recycling, waste and water management, or sustainable transport. On the other hand, in part because of the progress of technology, the transition to a greener economy will lead to job losses. To minimize the job destruction in areas that are more vulnerable to losses, proactive training, reskilling, upskilling and support for workers will be highly needed to help workers deepen their existing skill sets or acquire new ones and to ultimately change occupation. “Green skills” can help workers prepare for the labour market changes that will inevitably come.

More than 80 participants attended the training. They included scholars, regional TVET experts, private sectors actors, government officials, development partners and other stakeholders from Amhara regional state.

Kehali Jembere (PhD). ©ILO
Kehali Jembere (PhD) is a professor at the University of Gondor (Agriculture & Environmental College). After the workshop, he explained: “the training gave me many new ideas that validated the existing knowledge we had about green skills, green jobs and the green economy. It increased our capacity to envisage what to do next and to identify our roles and responsibility in combating the existing climate change challenges, such as job losses, which lead too many people to struggle for their survival.

I am glad the ILO is embracing this global challenge. In this environmentally affected world, we must ensure the existence of a more sustainable and greener economy. Now, we have a better understanding of what is expected from us, apart from our usual business, and on the necessary green skills. As an institution, designing an action plan that can be implemented at the grassroot level and create job opportunities will be our priority. I am happy to have participated in this training and I appreciate ILO’s contribution in the journey to tackle climate change.”

Ms. Tsige Girma, president of the Amhara Women Entrepreneurs Association. ©ILO
Ms. Tsige Girma is the president of the Amhara Women Entrepreneurs Association. It was the first time she attended a training of this kind. She explained: “I have worked as an agricultural & environmental protection expert for the past 27 years. Now, I am more interested in environmental conservation. This training will help me to promote it and make sure everyone can make use of the advantage of a green economy. We must change ourselves before we even try to change our environment. With this in mind, I believe that such training will have a significant impact so that we have the courage and commitment to fully engage our communities in the green economy.

In our association, we used to promote environmental protection but it was not supported by adequate and up-to-date skills. Through this training, we have gained different ideas and methodologies to design and implement a green model that will create small scale job opportunity at the community level, which will ultimately boost the green economy in our city.

I really thank the ILO for this initiative and for taking the lead. The ILO created a great opportunity by bringing various actors together to discuss the challenges and opportunities that climate change brought to our world. We can now work together and support the government and entrepreneurs to develop practical policy and strategy that will create decent, sustainable, and green jobs in the local market across the community.”

The three-day learning forum and group discussions concluded with the development of an action plan that will enable participants to disseminate the learnings and participate in awareness raising campaign against environmental degradation to ensure a more sustainable, inclusive and greener development in the region.