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Is sustainability the fourth functional skill’?

Details: Written by Eleanor Lodge |

As AELP hosted their first-ever Green Skills Summit in February sponsored by The Skills Network, it grows evermore clear that there is a need to integrate a “fourth functional skill” into mass upskilling across the country.

The three functional skills areas - those basic skills required for a successful life – have been focused on Maths, English and ICT comprehension. But now there is a push for a fourth and vital upskilling resource in climate sustainability – with this resource critical to turn the tide on climate change.

Why now?

The workplace has seen an 142% increase in the demand for “green” knowledge in employment over the last five years, with hard skills in Sustainability, Environment Health and Safety and Auditing now critically needed. This, alongside a growing green sector, is demanding skills in practical “how to do” sustainability and pushing ITPs and educators to step up to the mark in green skills training.

The growth of “green” offers prediction of the direction the job market is traveling, but to solve the climate crisis it is now fundamental that “green skills” are integrated across all sectors - critical not only in economic stability and success, but for humanity as a whole.

How can it be done?

To address the climate sustainability skills shortage, we must train in a way that looks beyond the green sector, focusing on developing a provision that is widely accessible. With few resources offering practical action through skills training, educators have an essential role in embedding sustainability training into all elements of education – bringing climate action to life through real case study scenarios and practical application.

The Skills Network are proud to be one of the first ITP’s to develop and offer to the market just this - a leading solution for mass sustainability and eco-literacy skills development in non-green jobs. This accessible provision and expert content allows teachers and employers to embed environmental sustainability into their own subject or staff training programmes, providing adaptable, sector-specific examples and practical applications of sustainability practices.

The critical element here is the impact of this training. We do not need more people to simply know more things, but rather to feel able, empowered and ready to do more and it is the simplicity and accessibility of this sustainability resource that will prove key in the fight against environmental disaster.

Through government-funded courses, The Skills Network offer a real-world solution to the climate crisis, allowing employers to align sustainability training to their individual business’ needs and ultimately upskill on mass in these key areas.

The next step

The EU is applying a requirement that 25% of skills funding must now be allotted to sustainability linked programmes - this provides a likely forecast to skills funding allocations in the UK. This alongside further Government investment into the Lifetime Skills Guarantee, shows the funding sources in the pipeline for sustainability training provisions in the coming months and years. The Skills Network is ahead of the curve, acting to fulfil the most critical skills shortage crisis ever seen, through their expertly developed provision.

It’s time for the industry to catch up and join the climate fight together so, become a sustainability champion today with The Skills Network.

Find out more about our Sustainability courses here