A landmark report published today by Zero Waste Scotland and Circle Economy reveals that Scotland's labour market is in a strong position to benefit from the circular economy transition. While more than 200,000 jobs (8.1%) already contribute to the circular economy, further investments can help the country address existing social inequalities by redistributing job opportunities, creating sustainable jobs and providing more widespread access to essential goods and services.
As Scotland's decision-makers plan the country's economic recovery from the covid-19 pandemic, the report identifies a wide-ranging mix of new circular roles and skills needed to help Scotland Build Back Better by forging a truly national circular economy. It sets out a vision of the future of work in three priority areas – construction, the bioeconomy and capital equipment, such as decommissioning energy infrastructure from oil rigs to wind turbines.
The skills pathways identified in this report demonstrate, there is a strong need for digital skills development, particularly in the construction sector. This can maximise the potential of technologies to improve communication, collaboration and material efficiency, all central to the circular economy. Maximising the promising future of the bioeconomy will require work to raise awareness of the significant business and job opportunities it brings to turn waste streams into value and make this emerging sector a mainstream career choice for graduates. Meanwhile there is a valuable window of opportunity to grasp the varied redeployment options which decommissioning of oil rigs and wind turbines in Scotland’s energy sector presents.
The report, entitled 'The Future of Work: Baseline Employment Analysis and Skills Pathways for the Circular Economy in Scotland', has been launched alongside Circle Economy's Circular Jobs Monitor. This online tool that gathers, displays, and keeps track of the number and range of jobs that are part of the circular economy across the world.
It shows that with 8.1% of jobs being related to circularity, Scotland is on par with other countries where assessments have been conducted, such as the Netherlands (8.6%) and Belgium (7.5%).
As a first broad assessment of circular jobs and skills in Scotland, this report serves as a basis for future efforts to build on. These efforts will include the production of a competence framework, the enhancement of data collection and analysis, the support of innovative forms of learning and knowledge exchange, investment to support the creation of circular jobs and the promotion of the circular economy as a career destination.
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