Circular Economy Global Foundation Course
For the circular economy to move from concept to action, we need skills — real skills, not just an understanding of what the circular economy means.
The Global Circular Economy Education Project – Mission Statement
“While the circular economy is gaining traction, we are not keeping pace with the skills required to meet the demands of industry, government agencies and NGOs. It is imperative to develop a globally recognised circular economy education system that encourages country-specific content, reflecting the economic makeup that drives industry sectors.
Skills training provides the competencies and knowledge to perform a specialised task. In this respect, it is much more than education. Skills training can equip people with the capability to mitigate climate change, support bio-diversity and transition to a more resource-efficient world.”
Skills Training for the Circular Economy
“A skill is the learned ability to perform an action with determined results with good execution often within a given amount of time, energy, or both. A skill may be called an art when it represents a body of knowledge or branch of learning. People need a broad range of skills to contribute to the modern economy, however, three broad categories of skills are suggested and these are technical, human, and conceptual.¹”
A Universal Standard
The circular economy comprises two words – ‘circular’ meaning the starting and finishing in the same place; and ‘economy’, which is the wealth and resources of a country or region, especially in terms of the production and consumption of goods and services.
While we warrant these resources must be kept in use for as long as possible, they are the wealth of a nation, and our consumption habits include the wealth of other countries that use primary resources to manufacture products for export. The circular economy must now evolve so that practitioners can work alongside specific industry sectors to manage these resources. To do that requires skills.
The first step towards improving circular economy skills is by consensus. An agreement for a globally accepted core curriculum created by academics, circular economy practitioners, industry experts and interested stakeholders. It is imperative for educational institutions and corporate training facilities to be in agreement regarding the skills we need to achieve our circular goals.
“In addition, circular economy skills should directly correlate to the economic activities that drive specific industry sectors of each country. These may include agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, services, building & construction, extractive industries (mining), food processing, textiles, chemicals and others.”
By agreeing on a core curriculum, students in universities and colleges may choose to gravitate towards disciplines such as industrial ecology or environmental economics. Skills training institutions can create training programs that include the core circular economy modules, then offer additional modules according to a person’s preference, such as remanufacturing. Governments can subsidize apprenticeships.
Yet, skills training should not be limited to students or employees but also include business owners to reduce the risk of failure. After all, there is much detail required to set up a remanufacturing division in a company, regardless of size. There is no reason why there cannot be skills training in setting up a repair business or identifying circular principles when repurposing recovered resources (as all products are considered resources, at the point of disposal these recovered resources can then move into any one of the Circular R functions).
The one common feature between all participants and learners is the knowledge and skill to manage our planet’s finite resources according to sustainable and circular principles while engaging in profitable economic activities.
Below is a list of topics that may be included in the core curriculum. Participants who register as Active are welcome to add topics. The final selection will be decided by consensus from all Active participants with input by Observers.
The Proposed Skills Training Model
Once all the circular economy foundation course modules have been completed, the course will be available to corporations as part of their company training, NGOs, universities, colleges, and most types of educational institutions for students 16 years and above – a B2B model. However, it should be noted that the first version may not be suitable for children under 16 years of age, although developing a version for this age group is part of the overall vision.
Stage One: The Circular Economy Foundation Course will be available for free and we would like the course to be made available for free to learners everywhere. However, it is only a foundation course designed to provide learners with the basic knowledge and tools of the circular economy.
Stage Two: Here is where the in-depth skills training begins. Now that learners are equipped with the basic requirements, corporations, NGOs, universities, colleges and other educational institutions can develop their own add-on courses in relation to the business or the industry sectors that drive their economies where circular economy principles and sustainability are embedded into the day-to-day activities.
Circular Economy Asia and our partner organisations offer no guarantee as to the quality and content of these course add-ons, although this may change in the future. Circular Asia Association, as a legally registered NGO in Malaysia, also intends to develop a range of Stage Two industry-specific skills training courses either independently, in conjunction with our partners or as requested by our clients.