The Covid-19 pandemic and the related fundamental shift in how people live and work have led many individuals to seek purposeful careers. According to a 2021 Gartner study, the Great Resignation saw 56% of American employees want to contribute more to society as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic. LinkedIn’s
Despite the growing interest in climate-related positions, companies are reporting challenges in recruiting workers with the skills needed to support their businesses and adjust their operations in a net-zero economy. Alongside this, Foresight Canada mentions that workers would benefit from taking the initiative to improve their knowledge and acquire in-demand green skills in order to become gainfully employed. One company working to reduce these talent and skill bottlenecks is Terra.do. The California-based company is building a global climate career platform to get 100 million people working in environmental industries by 2030. Nishant Mani, Terra’s Chief Business Officer, provides insights into the company’s global climate career platform, the cohort-based learning curriculum aiming to provide opportunities for industry experts and workers, and the importance of understanding climate change’s global implications for driving the necessary shifts in society’s approach to tackling climate issues.
Targeted learnings and professional connections can accelerate climate career transition
According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), the green economy can create 24 million jobs worldwide by 2030, and acquiring green skills will be crucial for workers to position themselves for these emerging roles. LinkedIn’s skills report shows these green jobs span a wide range of industries, from obvious ones like renewables to less-expected ones like finance, fashion technologies and transport. Among these are careers in the renewable energy industries, where opportunities are projected to rise rapidly in the coming years. But as countries look to reduce their carbon emissions, specific economic sectors, notably the fossil fuel industries, will see a drop in employment, with workers needing to transition into new careers.
Nishant Mani says that, given the emerging labour markets and economic trends, “Terra.do devised the global climate career platform so workers, investors, organisations and companies from various parts of the economy can engage, learn and see their place in the climate solutions economy”. In 2020, Terra.do launched its live and interactive cohort-based learning programs. Mani adds that to support cohort participants, “Terra.do has also built topic-specific communities and developed mentorship programs to connect learners with industry professionals so participants can understand how climate change can be addressed by their particular line of work. We aim to enable our members to drive influence in their current organisations and/or leverage the community and upskilling from the program to move into new roles”.
In recent years, the Covid-19 pandemic and the associated economic uncertainty have caused many workers and organisations to think strategically about their long-term goals and the key drivers to attain them. For workers, aligning skills and interests will be crucial, whereas companies will want access to motivated, able and productive talent who can approach tasks from a sustainability perspective. Moreover, green jobs and skills will have a higher share in some sectors, requiring companies and workers to understand each other’s goals, motivations and tasks. For these reasons, Mani says, “Terra.do has created ways for companies and members of the platform (including course participants) to interact directly with organised career meetups and job fairs that provide the knowledge required and the connections needed to get a position in a particular climate organisation or company”. Last year, for example, Terra hosted a course called Energy Transition for Oil and Gas Professionals, in which existing workers regularly collaborated with company representatives and industry professionals to build up their skills for the renewable energy industry and showcase these skills, along with previous work experience, in more appropriate ways.
Continuous learning is essential in building up knowledge
The WEF’s Future of Jobs Report 2020 reveals that skill gaps will continue to be prevalent as in-demand skills change across jobs in the lead-up to 2025. Companies surveyed by the report believe that around 40% of employees will need reskilling for up to six months, and 94% of business leaders covered by the Future of Jobs report expect employees to pick up new skills on the job—a big jump from 65% in 2018. Moreover, as countries look to meet net-zero goals over the coming decade, green technologies will have to be further developed and enhanced, requiring a continuous cycle of reskilling and knowledge development to empower workers with green skills and foster green entrepreneurship. While there is enormous potential for driving/making a green transition, the OECD notes that we are not moving fast enough to seize it, with jobs requiring green skills having increased by 8% annually over the past five years and the share of green talent only by 6%.
Regarding the long-term outlook required to execute the energy transition and meet the growing demand for talent, Mani notes that “Terra.do’s cohort-based learning curriculum has been created to continuously engage learners and connect them with the community, with course content being developed to meet ongoing industry and skills demands”. But with several Edtech and online learning platforms already on the market, consumers have various avenues to choose from on their learning journeys. Mani emphasizes that the “cohort and live-based nature of the program that builds relationships between participants, mentors and experts is the major difference compared with traditional and self-run platforms”. Just as climate change and its economic impacts are evolving issues, Mani says, “continuous learning and interaction with industry professionals and mentors will be critical for workers and those currently employed to get the best insights for their careers and to apply their knowledge to drive positive outcomes”.
Understanding climate change’s global impact is crucial to driving the necessary change
Based on the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, global warming is causing heat waves and leading to longer warm seasons and shorter cold ones in every region of the world. These changes are altering the water cycle and rainfall patterns, bringing more flooding and drought and causing sea level to rise and the ocean warm. But not every region is expected to be similarly impacted by climate change or have the same capacity to adapt. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), developing and low-income nations face the most significant risks and are the least prepared, requiring international collaboration and financial support to build the infrastructure needed for resilient growth. In light of the holistic understanding required to address climate change, “Terra.do is building courses and programs that dive into the impact of climate change from a global perspective”, Mani points out. Moreover, he adds, “we are seeing that Terra.do’s cohorts are showing a keenness to understand best practices from around the world when it comes to developing green technologies, formulating corporate decisions and devising green policies—and then critically evaluating how these best practices can be applied elsewhere, like their local regions”.
As climate change becomes an important global issue, companies, workers and policymakers will have to understand its broad context and collaborate to accelerate the adoption of new technologies and the implementation of climate migration strategies. Mani says that to help creates a multi-perspective space for these conversations, “Terra.do’s goal is to create universal access so individuals from different countries can join and share their knowledge within the communities and among cohort members to advance critical conversations. We have designed need-based scholarships so persons from all backgrounds can participate and play an active role”.
Alongside measures for fostering diversity and inclusion on Terra.do’s platform, Mani highlights that “Terra.do’s course material and exercises would also have to evolve. The team is working to bring in knowledgeable instructors about climate change’s global impact to reflect the context needed to drive change worldwide”.