ECO Canada has been studying the environmental labour market for more than 20 years. Based on experience and learning, we can say that definitions of environmental work keep evolving.
As 2018 starts, we are pleased to present innovative approaches and concepts that allow us to measure and track the size and distribution of environmental employment.
This is the first of two articles that will explain how our research findings provide a clear understanding of what environmental employment is and why this is important to get started in the environmental sector.
Core workers in environmental employment
A little bit of theory first.
ECO Canada is now focusing on “core workers” when analyzing environmental employment. They are defined as workers in occupations requiring specialized environmental skills and training.
For example, an agronomist is considered a core worker. He or she requires a bachelor’s or master’s degree in agriculture to advise farmers on crop cultivation and fertilization. Training is necessary to do his or her job properly.
As the agronomist gains more experience in the field, he or she will start developing skills to produce intended results.
For more information on career paths and trends, visit our Environmental Career Choice & Planning section and check details on specific areas of practice.
Skills for environmental employment
Through the National Occupational Standards (NOS), ECO Canada ensures that skills align with environmental work.
Our NOS work describes the inter-relationship between technical skills, transferable skills and knowledge.
The latter encompasses areas of awareness shared commonly by environmental workers. For example, environmental science, technology and terminology; current global environmental trends, challenges, concerns and solutions and Canadian environmental business practices.
Let’s say you’re interested in a career related to natural resource management.
A combination of technical and communications skills are required to perform tasks in that area. Typically, a core worker conducts environmental social impact assessment, develops and implements plans, programs and practices for ecosystems and habitat preservation.
However, the same functions may apply to other areas of practice, like Energy or Policy and Legislation. Both conduct environmental and social impact assessment, too.
Another component that contributes to the successful performance of technical work is transferable skills. They are “transferable” because they can apply to any workplace. For example, professional ethics, effective communication, collaboration, critical thinking and judgement, among others.
On January 22, the ECO Canada Research team hosted a webinar titled “The State of Environmental Employment in Canada.” If you want to learn more about skills, occupations and opportunities in the environmental sector, this presentation will give you some pointers.
It’s free and you can access it at any convenient time.