In new research from the Ai Group, available as a free 48-page report, it finds most businesses feel positive about the transition to a 'clean economy' but many are only in the early stages of thinking about the skills and capabilities they might need to seize the opportunities.This is of particular interest to the Sign, Display and print-related sector.

AIG CleanEconomy

AIG logoThe report from Ai Group's Centre for Education and Training, Skills for a Cleaner Future, is based on interviews with businesses from a broad range of industries including manufacturing, construction, engineering, health, food, electrical and packaging.

81% of the businesses in the study saw the clean economy transition as an opportunity, with 76% seeing it as an opportunity to reach new customers.

Over three-quarters of the businesses surveyed had implemented changes as a result of the transition to a clean economy - with changing customer demands a key factor: 77% cited this as a driver of change.

But when businesses were asked whether they had the skills and capabilities to successfully navigate the transition, the results were mixed – 55% said yes, 45% said no.

42% expected emerging or increased skills needs over the coming year. Among those who considered that their skills needs would increase, 48% predicted this would be skills in relation to the circular economy; 45% said skills in relation to clean energy.

Half the businesses said they expected that the skills or tasks in their existing jobs would change, and half expected completely new jobs to emerge.

Ai Group Centre for Education and Training Executive Director Megan Lilly said: "The findings show there is a lot of opportunity, but many Australian businesses are unsure if they have the skills and capabilities they need.

"Our research shows businesses are optimistic about rising to this challenge, but in many cases haven’t thought through the skills and workforce needed to take them there.

"While there will be entirely new sectors and jobs emerging, businesses right across the economy will need to adapt, and this means having a level of 'green literacy' in the workforce. From the Boardroom to operational staff policymakers and business leaders will need to be on the same page to ensure this happens, otherwise Australia risks being left behind," Ms Lilly said.

Ai Group Chief Executive, Innes Willox, said: "I am very optimistic about the opportunity the clean economy transition represents for Australian businesses. However, as is so often the case, it is people, and their knowledge, skills, capabilities, partnerships and insights that will be the key to our success.

"Policymakers must create the right conditions for that success, and businesses must have the right strategy for the conditions," Mr Willox said.

The research sought to understand more about how everyday small and medium businesses are experiencing the clean economy transition and the implications for workforce and skills. It involved semi-structured interviews with 31 Australian businesses of all sizes from a range of different industry sectors. For the purposes of the report 'clean economy' is defined as comprising three pillars:

  •     Climate change mitigation and adaptation
  •     Renewable energy
  •     Circular economy

Read the full report here: Skills for a cleaner future: Building the workforce for a clean economy

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