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Climate policy is creating a wave of new job opportunities that appeal to environmentally conscious youth. Deakin is responding to student and industry demands through their environmental science course offerings but it is important to remember that ‘green’ opportunities extend beyond science and technology boundaries. The environmental industry is multidisciplinary, incorporating a diverse range of occupations. For example, most top-tier law firms in Australia have had practices in the area of environmental law and major projects for a while.
The environmental industry a very large, diverse, segmented industry. “People perceive the environment industry as a single market," says Peter Mirkov, chief operations officer for Coffey Environments, a large environmental services consultancy that employs between 30 and 40 graduates a year."The reality is, it's several different market. . . We have the sustainability area, the natural resources management area, contaminated land management, waste water management, corporate managing and reporting, just to name a few," says Mirkov.
"I think perhaps in the academic area, there's not an appreciation of just how big the environmental sector is, and how big an employer it is of graduates . . . academic institutions need to be aware of the change in conditions in the employment market,” says David Ife, a senior principal and hydrogeologist with environmental consulting firm, URS Asia Pacific.
If the carbon pollution reduction scheme legislation passes, more than 26,000 new ‘green jobs’ will be created mostly in regional Victoria.
The renewable energy targets sought by the Government will boost funding to support the growth of clean energy technologies by $4.5b.
Australia could generate up to 850,000 green collar jobs by 2030 and multi-billion dollar export opportunities, according to the report by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) and Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF). The report identified opportunities six key green industries – renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable water industries, biomaterials, green buildings and waste recycling.
The UK Government announced a plan to create 1 million new Green Jobs, primarily in manufacturing new green technologies. They estimate that the clean energy sector could alone create up to 260,000 jobs over the next ten years.
Germany created 76,000 new Green Jobs in renewable energy (to reach a total of 236,000) in just two years between 2004 and 2006, underpinned by their strong renewable energy laws and complementary Green Skills programs.
China is doing much more than talking about green jobs. Its recently announced $870 billion stimulus package is carefully targeted towards projects that enhance the environment and society, including renewable energy, rail transport and rebuilding areas affected by the Sichuan earthquake.
Green Steps is a free Environmental Management Mentorship Program run in conjunction with the Monash Sustainability Institute. Green Steps offers a unique combination of training, work experience and business engagement - run in two distinct phases, namely training and project work, and industry placements. The Greensteps @ work program is ideal for Postgraduate students wanting to enhance their professional skills and improve their chances of obtaining work in the environmental sector.