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Gen green 4 Australia: a national study of demand for and supply of skills for sustainability

posted on 2014-06-01, 00:00 authored by F Sack, M Brown, Mark RahimiMark Rahimi, J Turnbull
In this research, skills for sustainability are broadly conceived as including skills for social, economic and environmental sustainability – a triple bottom-line approach.
Since 2009 Australian governments have been implementing an agreement that embeds skills for sustainability into vocational education and training, despite scant information about the actual levels of demand for, and supply of these skills.
This study provides evidence on the actual depth and breadth of the take-up of these skills within Australian training organisations and workplaces.
The demand studied in this research is that expressed by the primary consumers of Australian Vocational Education and Training (VET) services, students who engage in VET studies, this is known in the literature as social demand for education.
VET students and teachers responded to two survey instruments that explored the sustainability values, behaviours, learning and teaching of Australian apprentices, trainees and their teachers.
The results of this study show ‘a social demand’ for skills for sustainability. In summary, the results show that:
•Apprentices, trainees and their teachers cared a great deal about social, economic and environmental sustainability;
•Supply was closely aligned to social demand for skills for sustainability so that demand for skills for sustainability from VET students was almost entirely met;
•There are important differences in the teaching, learning and utilisation of skills for sustainability that are related to gender and age; and
•In-class learning of environmental skills has increased over time and now slightly outweighs learning of these skills at work, however community learning of these skills outweighs both.
The findings suggest that:
•Further action is required to embed green skills into the VET system, especially in the areas of energy efficiency and supply chains;
•The VET system plays an important role in supporting community cohesion and economic literacy, especially for women;
•It is important that social sustainability is properly considered in analysis informing VET policy; and
•Gender differences in values and behaviours and gender and age differences in learning skills for sustainability have important implications for the design of future skills for sustainability programs.
VET students and their teachers have unique insights into the supply of and demand for skills for sustainability, and this viewpoint can contribute, now and in the future, to the further development of skills for sustainability in Australia.



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Sustainably/WorldSkills Australia

Place of publication

Sydney, N.S.W.



Publication classification

X Not reportable; A6.1 Research report/technical paper

Copyright notice

2014, Sustainably/WorldSkills Australia

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