GreenVET increases green skills in vocational education and training

Experiences Vocational education and training Erasmus+ Erasmus+ for vocational education Internationalisation Sustainable development
Environmental responsibility is not yet part of daily work in vocational education and training (VET) everywhere in Europe, even though students need green skills when entering working life. Savo Vocational College coordinates the GreenVETnet project, in which sustainable development skills are introduced in VET. The project received funding from the Erasmus+ programme.
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In the development of environmental responsibility and expanding it in VET, the key is how teachers are educated to adapt this way of thinking. 

“The whole idea was based on the understanding that sustainable development is at the core of our organisation’s strategy. For years, we have taken measures for sustainable development and also introduced a variety of contents of sustainable development into teaching. With this project we will contribute to strengthening the ability of VET to carry out sustainable development,” says Project Manager Päivi Vestala from Savo Vocational College. 

The green transition will also provide employment to people with vocational skills

During autumn 2023, the GreenVETnet project will develop the Green Skills Toolkit package to be used in VET and its planning. The package is a kind of guide on best practices explaining how green skills can be taught in VET.

Four fields of VET are involved: tourism and catering, transport, business and energy-efficient construction. These fields were chosen because they are expected to be in the best position to provide employment to students in the green transition and because green skills are now required especially in the four fields in question. 

The tool is based on the EU’s GreenComp model

The Green Skills Toolkit package, which will be placed in the GreenVETnet portal, will be built in the workshops organised in the autumn. The content of the workshops will be based on GreenComp, the European sustainability competence framework.  

“We used it to create a discussion framework that every team will use to go through the competence areas and individual competences of the sustainable development skills – for example, how the values of sustainable development could be taught or how nature awareness could be promoted.” 

After the workshops, events presenting the output of the tool directly to educational institutions will be organised in every country participating in the project. In December, a more extensive event will be organised to report on the materials and results of the project to education management. 

Environmental responsibility cannot yet be taken for granted everywhere 

There is demand for the material that will be developed in the project as environmental responsibility is not automatically included in VET even everywhere in Europe. The teachers involved in the project have been very interested in the topic and the project has also provided an opportunity for some of them to discuss matters more freely. The challenge has been that, for many different reasons, the progress in the themes of sustainable development is at very different levels in different countries. 

"Environmental issues are also political. Even in Europe, there are still countries in which teachers are not supported in this development. This package therefore meets a great need.” 

Students will need the competence required for the green transition when they enter working life anyway. A lack of it may make finding employment more difficult for them. For example, it is not possible in all educational institutions to even learn about electric cars in study programmes in driver education, vehicle mechanics and the like. 

“It makes you wonder what kind of future young people with this kind of education will have,” says Päivi Vestala. 

Towards a Greener Europe

The article is part of the Towards a Greener Europe story series, in which we highlight the environmentally responsible practices of Erasmus+ projects as well as Erasmus+ projects that promote sustainable development.

Text: Aino Kivelä