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Developing green skills through a regional TAFE. AVETRA Canberra 2012 Dr Mike Brown LaTrobe University Faculty of Education. A brief overview . . . . An overview of the study Context and background Literature review, other studies Methodology Findings Discussion Conclusions.

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developing green skills through a regional tafe

Developing green skills through a regional TAFE

AVETRA Canberra 2012

Dr Mike Brown

LaTrobe University

Faculty of Education

a brief overview
A brief overview . . .
  • An overview of the study
  • Context and background
  • Literature review, other studies
  • Methodology
  • Findings
  • Discussion
  • Conclusions
context and overview
Context and overview

The UNEP (2011) report defines the Green economy as ‘an economy that results in improved human well-being and reduced inequalities over the long term, while not exposing future generations to significant environmental risks and ecological scarcities’ (pg.2).

DEEWR (2011) in their report on Australian Jobs explains, ‘green skills, or skills for sustainability, are the professional and vocational skills, as well as the generic skills (such as sustainable approaches, innovation and problem solving) required for new green jobs and the greening of existing jobs across all industry sectors as a response to climate change and sustainability imperatives’ (DEEWR 2011: 31).

context and overview1
Context and overview

The region: Riverside TAFE

30,000 people living in warm sunny weather

Local industries include, horticulture, wine production, conservation and land management, irrigation, transport, health and community services, building and construction, automotive and engineering

context and overview2
Context and overview

Climate Commission (2011) ‘this decade is critical’ and Australia must decarbonise its economy and move to clean energy sources by 2050. The longer we wait the more difficult and costly it will be. This is the basis of calls for a transition to a low carbon economy. High amongst the strategies to do this is the setting of targets for a lowering of carbon and pollution emissions, and also targets for the levels of alternative and renewable energy being used. This paper starts to explore the extent to which green skills are being developed through a regional TAFE Institute and the ways that green skills might contribute to place-based strategies for regional development in the Riverside region.

other literature other studies
Other literature . . . other studies . . .
  • Regional VET provision
  • The development of green skills
    • What, where, how and why
  • The development of green skills within VET
    • Training packages, programs
    • VET students and graduates
    • Professional development of VET teachers and managers
the top 20 solar postcodes nationally are as follows
The top 20 solar postcodes nationally** are as follows:

1.     2830     Dubbo, NSW                                                       28.0% 2.     4511     Caloundra QLD                                                       27.3%3.     5211     Victor Harbor, McCracken, Hindmarsh Valley, SA     25.9%4.     6208    Pinjarra, Oakley, Ravenswood, WA                            24.7%5.     5214     Currency Creek, Goolwa, Hindmarsh Island, SA        24.7%6.     5173     Aldinga, Port Willunga, Silver Sands, SA                   24.1%7.     4280     Jimboomba, North & South Maclean, QLD                23.9%8.     6069     Ellenbrook, Brigadoon, The Vines, WA                      23.8%9.     5158     Hallett Cove, Sheidow Park, SA                                 23.6%10.   4208     Ormeau, Jacobs Well, QLD                                        23.2%11.   4505     Burpengary, Burpengary East, QLD                            22.2%12.   4507     Bribie Island, QLD                                                     21.7%13.   2477     Alstonville, Rous, Meerschaum Vale, NSW                21.2%14.   4165     Victoria Point, Redland Bay, Mt Cotton, QLD             21.0%15.   4116    Calamvale, Drewvale, QLD                                          21.0%16.   5169    Seaford, Moana  SA                                                    20.7%17.   5095    Mawson Lakes, Pooraka, SA                                        20.5%18.   5251    Mount Barker, Bugle Ranges, SA                                 20.5%19.   4133    Chambers Flat, Waterford, QLD 20.2%      20.   2486    Banora Point, Tweed Heads South, Bilambil, NSW  20.0%

other literature vet in regions
Other literature . . . VET in regions
  • OECD (2010) Victorian economy is changing
  • Garnett & Lewis (2007) agriculture plummets
  • Kilpatrick, Johns & Rosenblatt (2000) VET in the regional Australia contributes in two ways; capacity building and tangible outcomes in employment and community activities
  • Gelande & Fox (2008) reality check needed
  • Kearns, Bowman & Garlick (2008) double helix metaphor two way interaction.
other literature green collar work
Other literature . Green collar work
  • Climate Institute (2011)
  • Rafferty & Yu (2010)
  • ACTU (2008)
  • Hatfield-Dodds et al (2008)
tafe directors australia 2011 on regional vet provision
TAFE Directors Australia (2011) on Regional VET provision
  • A dual focus on addressing both local workforce skill requirements and the educational aspirations of individuals enhances the capacity for communities to retain the skilled population necessary for economic revitalisation;
  • TAFE staff being closely connected to local industry organisations and enterprises they are able to provide critical intelligence for the effective planning and prioritisation of regional development strategies;
  • Infrastructure that offers the potential and capability to grow tertiary level education and skills of regional communities without excessive further investment in fixed educational facilities;
  • Given its strengths and extensive cross-industry engagement with local and regional employers and community groups, TAFE’s local intelligence is able to be harnessed in regional and local planning and skill needs analysis.
the development of green skills what where how and why
The development of green skillsWhat, where, how and why
  • GSA and GSA Implementation Plan
  • GSA has four objectives
  • Donavan (2010) summarised these as, the development of national standards, upskilling the VET workforce, revision of training packages, and transition strategy for vulnerable workers.
the development of green skills within vet
The development of green skills within VET
  • Training packages, and VET programs
    • (Toohey 2010)
  • VET students and graduates
    • DSF 2008 & 2011; Sack 2012
  • Professional development of VET teachers and managers
    • Ithaca Group 2011

Three key questions

  • How are job roles changing in the transition to a low carbon economy?
  • How are TAFE training programs changing to develop ‘green skills’?
  • How are the TAFE staff’s professional development needs for understanding green skills, being met?

and also,

  • How is this playing out in a regional TAFE institute?
  • Sample size of twenty n=20, (N=80)
  • Four groups of participants,

Industry and community stakeholders (4);

VET managers (4)

TAFE teachers (5)

TAFE students (7)

  • Semi-structured focus group or individual interviews, around 30 minutes each, fully transcribed, and thematically analysed
findings industry stakeholders
Findings: industry stakeholders

Riverside Development Corporation:

  • ‘working with the large scale solar developers to track potential developers and to work with industry in looking at the skills needs and workforce capability’.


  • ‘working with industry to look at energy efficiency and resource efficiency in the industry more generally’
findings industry stakeholders1
Findings: industry stakeholders

Riverside Development Corporation:

  • bulk buying of rooftop solar installations . . . and mapping the skills in town for rooftop solar and making sure that we have the skills that will be needed to keep going into the future’.
  • Jobs created around the installation of solar panels
  • Levels of subsidies: uncertainty
  • Auditing and accounting in aspects of sustainability
  • A Sustainability Officer, like OH&S
  • Frustration at the larger solar industry projects
  • Light globe changeover and ‘the Healthy River festival’
findings tafe managers
Findings: TAFE managers
  • Working with others,
  • Staff at this Institute work with the Riverside Sustainability Network, the local Council, which has a large environmental arm and broader groups such as Regional Development Victoria, Skills Victoria, Sustainability Victoria, the Energy Training Network, the Department of Primary Industry (DPI) and the local Riverside Development Corporation.
  • The new Eco park
findings tafe managers1
Findings: TAFE managers
  • jobs are changing in construction, engineering, horticulture, conservation and land management and less so in fields like the business studies and hospitality areas.
  • Likewise the Training packages were reported to be including new units in sustainability and in other cases some were using the more general units from the Business Services training package.
  • Diploma of Sustainability: dual qual and as PD
findings tafe managers2
Findings: TAFE managers
  • Service learning in sustainability . . .
  • The Suni-Pods
    • The Eco park
  • The sustainability trailer
  • changes to building design . . .
  • Accessing PD through NCS and TDC
findings tafe teachers
Findings: TAFE teachers
  • Jobs changing: coal and oil need to be reduced, new materials, new products changes to design, higher energy efficiency . . .
  • Teachers as educators . . .
  • Broader influence reaching other tradies within and outside their own trades - building industry;
  • educating the customers
findings tafe teachers1
Findings: TAFE teachers
  • Jobs changing and adaption:
  • childcare industry, new call to educate the four year olds;
  • Plumbing: new products and new practices, bulk buy strategies,
  • Farming: new practices, water usage, tree planting ??
  • Sustainability Officers in large companies
findings tafe students
Findings: TAFE students
  • Well informed, one student quoted the Stern Review
  • Jobs, uncertainty and risk: Taking time to study full time in the hope that new jobs appear
  • ‘some industries might have to incur quite a hefty change of jobs in the coming years and other industries may be less affected’
  • ‘every business in some way or shape or form is going to have to have a look at how they operate’
findings tafe students1
Findings: TAFE students
  • the need to understand more than one area and that he expected that some of the emerging jobs would require a more multi-disciplinary or multi-skilled understanding in two or even three different areas. He cited the work of managing and researching freshwater fauna and habitats, ‘you have to have a pretty good idea of the plant side of things, the water quality, as well as the fish and animals within it, just to cover it as a whole’.
findings tafe students2
Findings: TAFE students
  • Another emerging job they identified involves educating people to be more sustainable and to assist people and businesses to explore options and alternatives. He explains that this education process to try and get people to change their point of view and adopt and change behaviours and practices was seen as one of the biggest challenges.
  • Seeing changes
  • Double agendas of cutting waste and inefficiency which also cuts costs
  • Green skills being incorporated into their courses in general and specific ways.
  • Generally very optimistic about the future work and jobs in sustainability. They thought that the new jobs that are emerging include accounting and auditing, environmental restoration and the emergence of dedicated Sustainability Officers.
  • raising awareness about efficiencies in the use of energy, water, materials and resources
  • The managers, teachers and students at the TAFE were all agreed that sustainability is being included into all courses.
  • Nearly all agreed that jobs were changing as awareness of sustainability increases. Existing jobs are including this need to be more sustainable. Likewise, new building materials are being used, as are new household products that are more energy efficient or environmentally friendly. The climate of this region makes small domestic renewable energy installations very popular. This brings with it jobs from marketing to transport and installation. Most of the installation work is being undertaken by the existing trades of electricians and plumbers both of which are changing to incorporate this demand.

In terms of the strengths identified by the TDA, four of these stood out for this Institute. The notions of,

  • (i) a dual focus that satisfies both industry needs and individual aspirations and retains skilled workers for re-vitalisation;
  • (ii) the connectedness between TAFE staff and local industry which gives an ability to provide critical intelligence for planning and prioritising;
  • (iii) the existing infrastructure to develop skills without extra cost; and
  • (iv) the cross-industry engagement and the local intelligence; are all evidence and borne out in this research.
  • This study analyses data from four categories of stakeholders and participants in order to provide insight into the actual perceptions and practices around sustainability across a regional TAFE Institute.
  • Much optimism is present amongst the participants in this region yet there is also evidence of risk.
  • Some new jobs are emerging and while these are thought likely to increase in the future, most change is occurring within existing jobs and in the application of the skills.
  • Clearly markets are growing in renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable water systems, green buildings, and waste and recycling, with all jobs seemingly starting to consider and incorporate ‘skills for sustainability’.
  • Investment and development of large scale renewable energy has become problematic
further research
Further research
  • With 50% of TAFE Institutes having campuses in regional communities,
  • A larger study across many regional institutes to see how the development of green skills is occurring and how this development aligns with place-based strategies for regional economic development