The Skills2Power project (‘Strengthen the Role of National Social Partners and VET Providers to Build Skills Intelligence in the Electricity Sector’) was launched in 2018 and coordinated by the European social partners for the electricity sector – the European Public Service Union (EPSU), industriAll European Trade Union, Eurelectric and the consultancy company, Spin360, as technical partner. Its main goal was to develop concrete joint strategies for anticipating and monitoring the needs for upskilling- and reskilling of workers in the electricity sector in France, Italy, Spain, Hungary and Sweden.
The previous EU joint project prepared the ground for an effective action aimed at addressing the skills needs of a sector rapidly moving towards green transition, decarbonisation, developments in technology and evolution of business models. It also sought to address the currently weak relations among sectoral stakeholders in building sound skills intelligence and skills anticipation.
“The workers in the energy sector are concerned by a number of changes which raise important challenges for the sector’s future development, particularly in terms of employment, human resources and skills development. The outcome of this project should serve our unions, social partners and policy makers to better anticipate and respond to the precise nature of these developments and guarantee quality jobs in the future” said Jan Willem Goudriaan, General Secretary of EPSU.
The project consisted of a series of capacity building workshops at national level, aimed at finding practical approaches to reinforce the interaction of social partners with education and training providers. This was a central part of the project. These workshops gathered a variety of stakeholders (European social partners, industry, national social partners, education and training providers and relevant public authorities) to discuss and propose concrete national roadmaps of activities on education and skills in the electricity sector.
Gilda Amarosi, representing Eurelectric: “The project’s main takeaway is that it is not an end but rather a starting point. There is still a lot of work to do in terms of capacity building at national level to make sure that all involved stakeholders, be it social partners, utilities or VET providers have a clear overview of the skills mismatch, discuss each other’s needs and work together on cataloguing and planning initiatives. Addressing the mismatch between the skills needed by the electricity sector in the next decade and the ones that are being offered by the training providers is an important, yet sometimes underestimated, part of the chain that will bring us through an energy transition able to accompany workers as well. If we do not solve this puzzle, it risks affecting the ability of our economy to decarbonise on time.”
At the final conference on 22 September 2021, key results of the project were presented and discussed, and the project’s final report and the national roadmaps produced by each partner country were officially launched. The conference was attended by speakers from the European Commission, as well as social partners and national experts of the sector, who had the opportunity to discuss skills and Just Transition.
Judith Kirton-Darling, representing industriAll Europe in the event stated: “A Just Transition requires active labour market policies. We need education and training to ensure reskilling and upskilling of workers and equip them for jobs within and between transforming industries. Every worker must have the right to quality training and life-long learning. This project was an opportunity to define skills policies for the electricity sector and we must continue in this direction.”
Key themes and results emerging from the project to be pursued at national level:
- Encourage a continuous and comprehensive dialogue by the various stakeholders to strengthen skills intelligence, anticipate labour market and skills needs trends and facilitate the planning of the corresponding VET supply.
- Address a varied and fragmented training offer by setting up a unified interface/platform/database.
- Have a coordinated understanding from companies on the type of skills and competences they are looking for.
- Tackle the financial burden and propose a plan for skills development and financing for the sector.
- Reflect on strategies to make the sector more attractive by improving tools, HR strategies and synergies between companies and training providers.