As a whole there is considerable confusion and doubt on the actual definition and meaning of the term green skills. One widely-spread definition states: “Skills for sustainability, also known as green skills, are the technical skills, knowledge, values and attitudes needed in the workforce to develop and support sustainable social, economic and environmental outcomes in business, industry and the community.” On the other hand, green skills is more often understood, especially by young people, as simply the skills needed to live and work in an environmentally-friendly way and try to contribute to tackling climate change in your everyday life and activities.
According to “Green skills for green jobs” conference in the UK green skills are mainly related to the so called STEM skills - science, technology, engineering and maths. It is the task of formal education to support and further develop those skills in young people. In addition in the UK research showed that green skills have to be further developed in the following areas: Programme and Project management; Construction Project Management; Research and development; Green construction; New Nuclear Build; Steel Fixing & Safety case authorship
STEM careers and the Renewables sector.
In relation to youth work, however, green skills can cover an even broader range of topics and initiatives that are more concrete and practically-oriented. There are youth green skills projects focusing on recycling, organic/permaculture gardening, sustainable food production, ecological construction, maintenance and renovation, handicraft and alike. When talking with young people about green skills youth workers and trainers have to start from inflicting some habits of green lifestyle and then proceed to issues like green economy, green jobs and green entrepreneurship. Green skills is not only about some sophisticated and high-profile skills related to the use of new technologies , but also about skills for green society, e.g. life skills, critical thinking, problem solving. Thus, the main idea behind green skills mobile game developed was to promote nature responsible behaviour by providing interesting and useful information in an attractive way. By playing the game, the user gets information for recycling of different materials. Other similar games can be developed focusing on similar green issues – e.g. energy-saving methods. Those can provoke interest and understanding of the pollution problems, limitation of natural resources etc.
In order to understand green skills and their significance today, we need to grasp the concepts of green economy, green jobs and green entrepreneurship which all require a wide range of green skills, depending on the sector in question. Green economy leads to human well-being and at the same time reduces threats or risks for the environment. It strives for zero carbon emissions, smaller ecological footprint and nourishes natural capital (the world's stock of natural resources which creates a long term supply of goods or services). Although it sounds rather ambitious, young people can contribute in practical ways to green economy and young entrepreneurs can work for promoting green economy. Green entrepreneurship does not differ essentially from entrepreneurship itself. It involves social innovation towards green economy with new ideas to tackle social, economic, cultural and environmental challenges. Finally, the third concept that has a great deal to do with green skills is green jobs. Any job that has something to do with preserving the environment and its quality is a green job. Thus, green jobs can be found in all the sectors of the economy – agriculture, administration, manufacturing, etc.
According to “Green Skills for Rural Youthin South East Asia” research report, it is important for young people to live and work in an environmentally responsible way, but very often they don’t know how and where to find more information and training in order to develop their green skills. In addition, training young people in green skills will be impossible if not first training the trainers on the topic. In this respect the project mGames in YW tries to address these challenges and provide attractive and up-to-date training resources for youth trainers and workers as well as for young people themselves.