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Interested in a Green Career? By Timea Kulcsar

South Africa is committed to becoming a low carbon economy and to reducing our carbon emissions by 34% by 2020. The demand for skilled professionals in the carbon and energy sectors is rising. Predictions around job creation from these industries are very promising. The GreenPeace Energy Sector Jobs to 2030 report predicts that the opportunities offered by the renewable energy sector alone could result in the creation of 78 000 direct jobs and thousands of indirect jobs in less than 20 years.

SA’s Water and Environmental Affairs minister, Buyelwa Sonjica, recently signed an agreement with provincial MEC’s responsible for the environmental portfolio. Ensuring environmental assets and natural resources are valued, protected and enhanced is known as "outcome 10" of government's 12 outcomes, The environmental sector expanded public works programme (EPWP) would be scaled up to carry out the activities outlined under outcome 10. It was expected that 1,15-million EPWP work opportunities would be created by 2014.  Another 325 652 full time jobs were also expected to be created by 2014.

The growth of the green industry is clear. The question is, who will fill these jobs and will they be able to perform them effectively? There is clearly a need in South Africa to develop strong capacity within the green industry and related technologies. All these predictions will fail to come true if we don’t have the skilled workers to fill these jobs created. Capacity building and skills transfer is vital for a country like ours that is still in its infancy when it comes to sustainability.

Corporate South Africa is also seeing the value in up skilling their staff.  Every day, employees in organizations make decisions with far-reaching environmental and social consequences. When these employees begin to understand the impact of their decisions, they consider the options more carefully. The business case for employee education is a strong one with benefits such as improved operational efficiency, innovation, supply chain management, attracting and retaining employees, strengthening customer relations as well as strengthening community ties.

What are the training options out there?

Most South African’ universities offer Environmental Management degrees and Engineering degrees that are suitable for those students who are embarking on their green careers or those interested in long term studying. But what about those people who want to join this exciting industry or gain an additional skill to add to their existing portfolio.  Short training programmes are easily accessible to gain these types of skills quickly.  We’ve researched the green training market in South Africa and found the short term programmes that are available currently. Below is a list of training providers, the short term courses they offer as well as a brief description of the courses they offer.  We have specifically omitted the degree programmes from our research as there are too many to mention.

Company Course name Description Website
Business Day/Nedbank Greening your business A digital course to help you get a grip on what is required to assess your organisation’s position and risk, and formulate policy in line with legislative and international requirements, helping set your company on the road to sustainability.
Crystal Clear Carbon Footprint Course This course provides practical training in how to calculate and reduce the carbon footprint of your organisation, product or
service and achieve environmental improvements and cost savings.
Energy Cybernetics Certified Energy Manager Course (CEM) This special in-depth five-day seminar is ideal for professionals who seek a more detailed program of instruction covering the technical, economic and regulatory aspects of effective energy management. The program offers a comprehensive learning and problem-solving forum for those who want a broader understanding of the latest energy cost reduction techniques and strategies
Energy Cybernetics Certified Energy Auditor Course (CEA) The CEA certification is one that identifies professionals as having the required knowledge and experience needed to succeed in the growing field of energy auditing.
Energy Cybernetics Certified Carbon Reduction Manager (CRM) Carbon Reduction Manager (CRM) program that is designed to provide recognition for professionals who have distinguished themselves as leaders in the growing field of carbon reduction
Energy Cybernetics Introduction to Energy Management (IEMT) This 3-day programme offers a very practical and hands-on treatment of the management aspects of energy management. In addition to developing an understanding of the issues, it is intended to begin the actual planning process of energy management of industrial and commercial buildings.
GBCSA Green Star SA Accredited Professional Course The Green Star SA Accredited Professional course provides practitioners with an understanding of the Green Star SA rating system and the ability to apply Green Star SA tools to projects.
Global Carbon Exchange GCX Certified Carbon Literacy Course This one day course gives employees and executives a good working knowledge of carbon related factors that will have to be included in their strategies to ensure their departments and businesses are prepared for doing business in a new low-carbon economy.
Global Carbon Exchange GCX Certified Carbon Footprint Analyst Level 1 Course The purpose of this course is to educate individuals on the key areas required in order to become a carbon footprint analyst. This is a hands on course where the learners will be taken through the logical steps required to complete a carbon footprint assessment
Global Carbon Exchange GCX Certified Carbon Footprint Analyst Level 2 Course This 3 day hands on course builds on Carbon Footprint  Analyst Level 1 to enhance the experience of the learner ensuring that they have the skills to undertake carbon footprints for large corporations.
Global Carbon Exchange GCX Certified Energy Efficiency Assessor Course This 3 day course is designed for all those whose work involves maintenance, property, building and facilities management, and working with energy systems. The course is designed to help participants identify inefficiencies in the systems they work with by teaching them the process of how to conduct a detailed energy assessment.
Global Carbon Exchange GCX Certified Residential Eco Auditor Course This 2 day course carefully examines the residential environment and teaches the learner how to assess and identify solutions across all areas of sustainability. The course outlines recommendations based on behavioural changes, correct maintenance practises and green technology to green a home.
Green Business League-SA Certified Green Consultant The course focuses on key areas such as HVAC, IT , transportation, Purchasing, Supply Chain, CSR, Carbon Emissions and credits etc
Green Gain Consulting Environmental Training for business This is a one-day environmental awareness-training course specifically aimed at management levels. Case studies and legal awareness is a central theme throughout the course. The course is structured to ensure that managers understand environmental issues and the concept of liability for environmental pollution. Green Corporate Governance and Environmental Management Systems (ISO 14 001) are discussed
Green Gain Consulting Environmental Awareness in the Workplace This one day environmental awareness training course is aimed at introducing the employee and contractor (ISO14 001 also regards contractors as employees for training purposes) to the environment. It has been designed using 16 modules dealing with the natural environment, human-environment interaction, environmental legal requirements, transportation, hazardous substances, emergencies, environmental management systems and environmental issues at home and in the community.
IMBEWU Sustainability Legal Specialists CLIMATE CHANGE & CARBON MARKETS The course covers Climate change market briefing and policy update, Developing carbon projects, CDM legal training
InSynch Sustainable Technologies Green Home Design Passive Heating & Cooling, grey water systems, permaculture, home & Garden layout Green principles, Decorating Choices, home improvements, etc.for a healthy home.
InSynch Sustainable Technologies Basic Renewable Energy Course How solar panels, solar water heaters, wind generators, etc fit together and work, sun ovens.
Mancosa Carbon Markets Course reviews how carbon markets work and the fundamentals of trading carbon as a commodity.
Mancosa Climate change and corporate sustainability Prepares employees to integrate Sustainability into mainstream business strategies. Covers high quality reporting, regulatory and voluntary carbon disclosure requirements
Metamorphosis Environmental Consultants Environmental Impact Assessment Training This 1 day course will provide a practical overview of the application of the EIA regulations and the legislation which drives them. Training will be given on the appropriate approach to the EIA process, using specific examples and exercises to reinforce the learning experience.
Metamorphosis Environmental Consultants Real World EIA This course will run over 3 days, it will deal with the practical application of the basic assessment and EIA regulations. The course includes a description of EIA triggers, and an overview of all applicable legislation as well as authority requirements. T
SAAEA Greening your business The goal of a green business is to keep its environmental footprint small, reducing waste and reusing materials as much as possible
Sustainability South Africa Sustainability Reporting using the GRI This two-day course offers practical examples, presentations, interactive discussion and actual evaluation of published sustainability reports to provide insight into the GRI's reporting framework. Further, it puts sustainability in context with an overview of international and local developments and best practice.

In order to embark on your green career, you need to decide which environmental sector interests you, find a course that suits your needs and go for it. Speaking from experience, it is a truly rewarding career path filled with challenges, opportunities and lots of room to grow. And you get to add ‘Saving the Planet’ to your CV. Pretty cool if you ask me.

Disclaimer: The list of training providers and courses available is by no means an exhaustive one as we may have missed some training providers during our research. Please contact us if you have a course that we’ve missed and we’ll update the article. Contact

One thought on “Interested in a Green Career? By Timea Kulcsar”

  • Lauri

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