The nature of employment and occupational demands in the forest sector keep changing, due to significant, overall changes in the sector including globalization, digitalization, changing societal demands, and climate change. Newly evolving “green jobs” promote sustainable development as well as the general well-being of the people. Students will need adequate training to be equipped with the skills required for the new jobs and to contribute to building a green, healthy, and resilient future with forests.
To address these challenges, on the last day of the World Forestry Congress 2022 held in Korea, the side event Forest skills to pay the bills! The juncture of education and employment took place. It was organized jointly by EFI, IFSA, IUFRO, and FOREST EUROPE, collaborating with the Thünen Institute, Forest Services of Natural Resources Canada, and the International Labour Organization. The event was organized as a 90-minutes hybrid event with an interactive format including a panel of on-site and online participants and audience participation. It hosted diverse participants including a high youth presence, the employment and policy sector as well as tertiary educators.
First, an overview of the state of play of green forest jobs within the pan-European region was presented by the Thünen Institute (Germany). This was followed by a series of dialogues by four representatives of the different stakeholder groups. In the session, the panelists discussed questions including “What are the skills and competencies expected of professionals in forestry today?” “What are the most significant changes in the post-covid world of work and how does this affect the forestry sector?” “How are universities preparing themselves educationally to face these changes and challenges?” or “How can students and policymakers cooperate to raise awareness of the significance of forest-related careers?” Each dialogue was framed by a video, presenting the results of the EFI-IFSA-IUFRO project “Global student networking and green jobs in the forest sector”. At the end of the session, attendees at the event in Korea were able to raise their questions and concerns regarding the paradigm shifts in forestry education and how the pandemic affected, in part, the practical issue of their professional development.
Finally, FOREST EUROPE’s “Grow Green Jobs Campaign” was introduced and the audience was invited to follow the campaign on Instagram.