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The Employment Aspects of Energy-Related Improvements in Construction in South Africa

— sector: Construction/buildings, Energy efficiency
— theme: Employment and socio-economic policies, Environment and climate, Industry (greening of)
— country: Other Countries, Other Regions
— type: Reports

Global warming affects the environment and its life forms, including humans, in myriad ways. The global need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is no longer questioned. Buildings are the first contributor to global warming. Moreover, buildings account for 30-40 per cent of the world’s energy use. Much information is currently available on the impact of the emerging “green” economy on the patterns of employment. Many reports suggest such an economy can actually generate more and better jobs; and that these fall under the ILO’s umbrella term of “decent jobs”. For our investigative research the primary question is: how, and in what way, can the relationship between technological changes with regard to energy-related improvements in buildings and the consequent employment potential be influenced in South Africa? We found that the relationship between technology changes and employment creation from such changes is on the one hand quantitatively weak, in that the required skills sets already exist to a large extent, and on the other qualitatively strong, in that up-skilling through training of the existing skill sets is desperately needed for improved productivity and the creation of decent jobs. Several suggestions are made to achieve the necessary up-skilling and to provide the improvement in education and training for those that still require skills training.

Llewellyn van Wyk, Marinda Kolev, Luke Osburn, Prof. André de Villiers, Dr. Zaid Kimmie/ILO
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This study looks at the influence the green economy can have on South African job patterns by reviewing the South African construction sector, the energy situation in the country, several energy efficiency technologies – especially in buildings globally, in Africa and in South Africa – as well as the legislation, regulations and policies that govern energy efficiency in the world and in South Africa. It focuses on energy efficiency and employment with the aim of identifying job creation opportunities that may arise from the development and implementation of new and emerging energy-related improvements in buildings.

In order to do this the study gives an overview of global trends in the green job market. It looks at different types of green jobs and at the requirements for decent work. The report also gives an overview of the current employment profile in South Africa and attempts to determine the impact of energy-related improvements in buildings on employment numbers and decent work in South Africa. It reviews the skills development
environment and opportunities to train workers for energy-related improvements as well as the challenges and threats to the employment market. Good practices for energy-related improvements in buildings are outlined.

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