SDG 4: Quality Education – Why it matters to businesses in Australia

For many in the built environment, the conversation around sustainability is limited to carbon and energy; it is assumed that sustainability equates solely with environmental concerns. However, the UN SDGs provide a far more complete framework of sustainability which includes environmental concerns but also equally highlights social and economic imperatives. We will be highlighting one of the 17 SDGs every week and relating it to how your business can help achieve these goals. 

SDG 4: Quality Education

This week we will be discussing SDG 4; ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all. First of all, this goal will be elaborated with the help of three of the ten targets. 

Target 4.3

Ensure access to all men and women to formal and informal education and training. This includes a broad definition of education which is more than just young people going to school. Men and women of all ages should have the opportunity to educate themselves through education, for example training offered at the workplace.  

Target 4.4

Increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship, this includes technical and vocational skills. This target focuses on specific industries that need workers and solving the shortage of skilled workers.  

Target 4.7

Ensure that everybody acquires the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development. This includes education in sustainable development, sustainable lifestyles and appreciation of cultural diversity. It is important to keep educating on recent developments regarding sustainable development and to keep learning to find new solutions for modern problems. 

Quality Education in Australia

The national government acknowledges that there are groups in Australia that experience barriers to accessing quality education and lifelong learning. These groups include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander learners, learners with disability, learners in regional and remote areas and learners from low socioeconomic backgrounds. It is important that these groups have access to quality education and that these groups are included in education reforms.

Furthermore, Australia has a longstanding challenge in some industries with a shortage of skilled workers. The Australian government has identified a Skill Priority List with 44 occupations that need more workers in the upcoming years. Some of these occupations on the list of skilled worker shortage are: construction managers, engineers, urban planners, nurses, electricians, ICT specialists, teachers and food and beverage specialists. Priority migration to attract workers from overseas to work in these industries is used as a temporary solution to this skilled worker shortage. However, quality education is needed to educate domestic workers to fill these gaps in the labour market.

Links with other SDGs

To make an impact on education in Australia is more extensive than you think when you consider the relation with the other SDGs and your impact in other areas.  

  • SDG 3: Good health and well-being: Education and knowledge are important to live a healthy life 
  • SDG 5: Gender equality: There exists gender inequality in education 
  • SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth: Education is directly related to productive employment and the skilled worker shortage 
  • SDG 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure: Education is important to foster innovation and sustainable development in industrialization and infrastructure
  • SDG 10: Reduced inequalities: There are groups within the country that lack access to quality education like indigenous groups, people in rural areas and people with disabilities.  
  • SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production: Education is necessary to ensure this goal  

What can you do?

  • Help educate people in your community, be a teacher or coach and share your experience 
  • Donate to a local organisation active in education 
  • Keep learning and find new transformational ways of solving new challenges, do not stay stuck by doing things the way it has always been.
  • Share your career journey to inspire others 

What can your business do?

As a business owner you have the opportunity to proactively take action and inspire your team to support you.  

  • Be a champion for new and more sustainable ways of building 
  • Hire traineeships or apprenticeships for your business or work with students and interns 
  • Provide employees with continuous opportunities to improve their skills for their current and future employment  
  • If you experience the skilled worker shortage in your business, you can contribute to the solution. Actively engage in career promotion, create opportunities for your employees to learn new skills and upskill themselves.  
  • Make sure you include marginalized groups like indigenous groups, women and people with disabilities  

What does sustainable development mean to you?

Do you want to know how your business can make an impact towards a sustainable future and help work towards the end of hunger in Australia? 

Our Ready Reckoner self-assessment will help you understand how you can be the change you want to see. Ready Reckoner  

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