One of the global issue trends in vocational education is greening to support the achievement of sustainable development. Industry as one of the main stakeholders of vocational schools needs to know their views regarding the skills of prospective workers they need. This study aims to identify industry perceptions on the necessity of green skills in agribusiness vocational graduates. Five elements of green skills studied here are environmental awareness, innovation skills, communication skills, adaptability, and management of waste. A descriptive research design with quantitative approach was used in this research. Data was be gathered through a questionnaire involving fifty practitioners from various types of food industries. The result showed that the industry practitioners agreed that green skills is required by agribusiness vocational graduates. This finding can be used as a guide in integrating green skills into the agribusiness vocational curriculum by considering the skills most needed based on industry perceptions.
Generally, vocational education in many countries consists of secondary and higher education (Brunello & Rocco, 2015). In Indonesia, there is an upper secondary vocational education institution called SMK (Sekolah Menengah Kejuruan) as a vocational school. It has a mission to equip workers who can work professionally in the industry. Therefore, it plays a role in generating graduates who have the skills correspondingly to the requirements of the job market to increase the growth and development of the nation's economy (Murniati, Usman & Azizah, 2016). The industry is a stakeholder who has an imperative and specific role in accomplishing the mission of vocational education (Ngure, 2013). Vocational school and industry may develop mutually beneficial partnerships to improve students' skills to meet industry demands (Hadromi, 2018).
Work field targeted by graduates is specific. Thus, the vocational school is special education that equips graduates to be competent to work professionally, develop careers in particular areas of expertise (Asnawi & Djatmiko, 2015). In this regard, the Indonesian government has divided SMK into nine fields of expertise which are technology and engineering, energy and mining, information communication technology, health-social work, agribusiness- agrotechnology maritime affairs, business and management, tourism, arts and creative industries. Each of which consists of several expertise programs and expertise competencies (Regulation Director-General of elementary and secondary education, Education and Culture Ministry, No 6/2018 on the skills spectrum of vocational high school). Agribusiness and agrotechnology is one of the expertise areas of SMK in Indonesia consisting of 6 skills programs, namely plant agribusiness, livestock agribusiness, animal health, agribusiness processing of agricultural products, agricultural engineering and forestry. Vocational school of agribusiness processing in agricultural products called SMK APHP (Agribisnis Pengolahan Hasil Pertanian) prepare students to work in the business world, as well as the food industry. Thus, it plays as one of the main stakeholders for agribusiness vocational school.
Food industries contribute negatively to the environment since it causes rising of gas emissions due to energy usage throughout the manufacturing process up to distribution as well as production waste. The global threat like climate change, reduced water availability, pushing to adopt sustainable food processing that is more environmentally friendly (Tiwari, Norton & Holden, 2014). This has become one of the drivers of shifting the recent economy design to the green economy (Loiseau, etc., 2016) which increases the rate of adjustment in employment and the skills required by green industries (Vona, Marin, Consoli & Popp, 2018). A green economy calls for green skills improvement that are needed almost any employment considering green jobs are relevant in all main field such as transportation, manufacturing, tourism, construction, agriculture, and renewable energy (Maclean, Jagannathan & Panth, 2018). Those skills are needed to do profitable work without damaging the environment, to ensure sustainable development (Sern, Zaime & Foong, 2018). Green skills can improve workforce understanding and skills for more environmentally friendly performance in order to support green growth (Pavlova & Chen, 2019). Green skills are defined as soft skills that focus on environmental preservation and energy efficiency (Thirupathy & Mustapha, 2020).
The issue of greening in vocational education is a global issue (Pavlova, 2017). Integration of green skills into vocational education curriculum is a necessity that will encourage the development of green technology as an effort to sustainability toward green economy (Kamis, Alwi & Yunus, 2017). The term sustainability is increasingly appearing in many industries, including food industries. The concept of sustainability in food processing shows that the process must: i) be based on raw materials that can be produced sustainably without damaging the environment, social or economy; ii) in the long run, do not depend on non-renewable energy sources; and iii) produce products that are safe for human health (Tiwari, Norton & Holden, 2014). Today, food producers around the world are very concerned about sustainable food processing chains and implementing sustainability practices in their industrial activities. Thus, in this study, green skills are considered as skills needed food industry to implement sustainable food processing. Students of SMK APHP as prospective employees should have skills proper to industries necessity. Practitioners' view, as well as industry involvement, are needed to enhance the quality of vocational education preparing competent graduates who are ready to work. This study aims to identify industry perceptions of the need for green skills in agribusiness vocational students.
In this study, it is found that green skills are required by agribusiness vocational graduates based on the food industries perceptions as the main stakeholders of vocational high school of agribusiness processing in agricultural products. The five elements of green skills, namely environmental awareness, innovation skills, communication skills, adaptability and management of waste, students need to have as prospective workers in food industries. Those skills are needed to present sustainable food processing systems that apply green technologies in food industries. Therefore, this finding can be used as a guide in integrating green skills into the agribusiness vocational school curriculum to improve student skills so that they are in line with industry needs. Industry Perceptions of the Need for Green Skills in Agribusiness Vocational Graduates were written by a team of researchers namely Mohammad Ali, Mustika Nuramalia Handayani, Dinn Wahyudin, Mukhidin.