As for lighting, GLSL is the way to go. You may need to learn FBOs to generate real-time light maps too.
It depends on what kind of lighting method he is going to use. I suggest forward rendering, just because it's the most simple to begin with. With both dimensions and forward rendering, you don't need FBOs whatsoever, just a simple shader for each kind of light (directional, point, spot to name a few) will do the trick. However, if he's programming a deferred renderer he will need FBOs for the normal, depth, and diffuse (color) buffer as well as another one which is generally optional for a simple system.