Background to the Green Skills Project

The Programmatic Context of the Course

The Green Skills Research and Planning Course is part of a broader Green Skills program, funded by the Green Fund through the DBSA for the period April 2015 – March 2018.

The Green Fund established by the Department of Environmental Affairs and partners to fund catalytic projects with the potential to create new green jobs. When Rhodes University and partners under the auspices of the National Environmental Skills Planning Forum applied to the Green Fund, we argued that our capacity to create decent green work opportunities for South Africans would be very limited unless we also addressed the capacity of the national system to produce the skills needed to do such work. This meant engaging with curriculum developers and educators in schools and post-school institutions, but it also meant building the capacity in the post-school system to determine what skills are needed, to plan for green skills development and to support it in a more concerted and coordinated manner. The Green Skills project proposed to focus on this latter aspect of building the national system to better plan for green skills.

Since its inception, the project has aimed to engage with the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs), other government departments, employers, industry associations and professional bodies. Our aim is to motivate these important role players to give more concerted attention to green skills (advocacy) in a more coordinated manner (coordination). We developed a website for sharing resources and ideas ( and a database of more than 300 role players, who receive a quarterly newsletter on developments in the field. We started conducting research in a number of sectors including mining, agricultural and chemical industries, and supply chain management in government agencies. Through this research we produced tools and methods for green skills research and planning, that are ready to be used and improved by others. To this end, to further motivate key role players to get involved, and build both individual and organizational capacity, the Green Skills Research and Planning Course was introduced in August 2017.

In the final quarter of the Green Skills program (January – March 2018) lessons learnt will be consolidated and published, and initiatives to take the work further will be proposed to potential implementation partners.