On 16 April 2016, we saw a cozy gathering of students, mid-career professionals and esteemed industry experts at the inaugural Green Jobs Symposium 2016. The symposium was initiated against the backdrop of the booming global green jobs market in recent years. Following global trends, it is predicted that green jobs will similarly proliferate in Singapore in the near future. Organised by Young NTUC and graced by Dr. Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, the symposium set out to understand the relevance and impacts of green careers for Singapore. The Global Compact Network Singapore is a firm supporter of the event and our Executive Director, Mr Wilson Ang had the privilege to moderate all the sessions at the event.
The day kicked off with an overview of green careers in Singapore, with the first panel attempting to understand the definition of ‘green jobs’ and what are those that meet these criteria: decent paying, resource efficient, low carbon and socially inclusive. It was evident that the concept doesn’t apply to a specific industry as it goes beyond the typical clean technology or renewable energy jobs. Instead, green jobs do not have to be directly nor closely linked to the green sectors, e.g. renewable energy, agriculture etc. Traditional roles such as human resource, finance, administrative positions and even entrepreneurs, may also be be considered as green jobs.
That said, certain green jobs would still require some form of specialisation, as expressed by the second panel, comprising of representatives from the sectorial trade associations. Roles that require such expertise, such as engineers and architects, necessitate a basic educational foundation at the very least due to the technicalities involved. More importantly, the onset of green careers also imply that employees are likely to have to go beyond the bare minimum of an educational certification to learn skills in a related field. Mr Owen Wee, Vice President of Surbana International Consultants Pte Ltd and Architectural Board Member of Singapore Green Building Council cited an example where an architect involved in designing a green building would have to acquire engineering knowledge in chiller efficiencies, and more, in order to deliver a complete job. Such interdisciplinary capabilities will be expected in many other types of green jobs.
On the final session of the day, the panel brought together individuals who have been successful in their personal journey to where they are now -- holding a green job. The session focused on aiding the participants to learn how to get themselves prepared for such green jobs, be it someone who is just joining the workforce, or has accumulated some work experience, or is looking to start a company of his/her own. There, the panelists gave in greater detail on the kind of skill sets they should develop, but more importantly, the type of mindset that would be needed of them to get into the green workforce.
Concluding the day was a mini green jobs fair to allow participants to chart their careers in the green job industry. In the coming months, more of such activities around green jobs will be lead by Young NTUC, and Global Compact will be working with them closely to support this growing space. We are also pleased to highlight that some of our esteemed members who were involved in this symposium included Ernst and Young, Hitachi Asia and Hyflux.