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The Way Forward: Push for Sustainability Drives Green Economy Growth

If you’re passionate about the environment and want to help pave a sustainable path forward for future generations, the rise of the green economy is good news for you.

Alberta’s green economy is creating exciting new chances for growth in the province. It’s happening now because we’re more aware that we need to save resources for future generations. This awareness is helping to change laws and policies, drive innovation and create new industries and jobs. This includes industries like energy efficiency and ecotourism, and jobs like installing solar panels and designing electric vehicles.

Green jobs aren’t just for emerging industries though. There are plenty of green jobs in traditional sectors like construction and forestry as well. These jobs help make business activities more sustainable, so that resources aren’t used up as quickly or less damage is done to the environment.

What is the Green Economy?

 There are different ways to define a green economy, but usually it means improving well-being, creating jobs and reducing poverty. Green activities can change communities for the better by engaging residents and creating inviting spaces.

 Green economy activities aim to:

  • Cut carbon emissions
  • Protect local animal species
  • Keep air and water clean
  • Create job growth in ways that conserve natural resources

Canada’s green energy sector has grown so quickly and has become such an important part of the economy that it now employs more people than the oil sands.

What does a green economy mean for Albertans?

Alberta’s green economy is leading to jobs in sectors that didn’t even exist previously. An example is the alternative energy sector, which includes things like solar and wind power.

Green jobs in familiar industries are often about finding better ways to do the same old things. They may show up in research, innovation, retrofitting, recycling, managing and more. For example, operating a building is not a new job. But a ECO Canada report found a shortage of people in Calgary to operate green buildings, or buildings that are built and run using green methods.

At the moment, nearly a quarter of the vacant green jobs in Canada are in Alberta.

Making the most of the green economy

Consumer demands and changing laws drive the green economy. Be ready for the chances that come your way. If you’re choosing a career path or thinking of a career change:

  • Read about industries that are likely to create green jobs. These include energy, power and transit. Also consider construction, renewable energy and recycling
  • Check out green job boards. Read job ads to see what background you might need and what you could earn

New occupations can be hard to search for online because the job titles may not yet exist. Often, the work is being done as part of another existing job and you may need to dig a little deeper. Start by asking around and seeking out companies with an environmental focus.

If you already have experience with green jobs:

  • Include the keyword “green” when you search online job postings on job boards. Focus on boards with lots of green job ads, such as the Government of Canada Job Bank
  • Market your green values or credentials in your resumé and online profiles
  • Walk the talk: Employers look for people who “live green” on and off the job

If you work in a traditional sector and want to prepare for the green economy:

  • Check out green training programs at post-secondary schools in Alberta
  • Ask a career advisor for help to identify what green skills you have that could be used in other jobs. Find out what further training you may need
  • Aim to learn all the time. This will increase your ability to move from one occupation to another
  • See if you qualify for the Environmental Professional Certification

Still interested in working in this growing economy? With some planning, you can set yourself up to succeed and help make the province a better place.

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