We use the term ‘green skills’ as a short hand to refer to any skills needed to take better care of the environment broadly, and which are required for a broad range of jobs across a variety of segments of the green economy – and in fact, also beyond economic activity. This means that we include in the notion of ‘green skills’, the skills necessary to determine and manage water quality and demand and our oceans and coast (blue skills), waste management, renewable energy and cleaner production (sometimes called brown skills), and others.

When considering the ‘green’ economy, the importance of the oceans and coastlines surrounding our land masses are often overlooked. The ‘blue’ skills associated with these ecosystems are critically important. South Africa has over 2500 km of coastline and the Exclusive Economic Zone, extending off the shore of the country, covers a massive 1 066 655 km2. The skills and human capacity required to effectively manage, protect and utilise the resources in and around these areas are often highly specialised and scarce. Knowledge of marine ecosystems and their inter-connectedness with continents and global systems are essential. Additionally, there is a great need for localised expertise to work along the coasts, as well as off-shore.

Green skills are necessary for waste water treatment works, engineering projects, sustainable farming, catchment management, business analysis, investment risk assessment, economic planning, procurement, marketing and communications, health and safety monitoring, air quality inspection, labour representation, community development facilitation, teaching, and more!