Newsletter 1: Renewable energy jobs have jumped to 10.3 million worldwide

Adnan Z. Amin, director-general of the International Renewable Energy Agency: “Renewable energy has become a pillar of low-carbon economic growth for governments all over the world, a fact reflected by the growing number of jobs created in the sector.”

According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)’s report, renewable energy jobs have jumped to 10.3 million worldwide. Following the IRENA’s latest data, the number of renewable jobs grew significantly with a 500,000 increase in 2017, that means a 5.3% increase on the last year. The solar industry accounts for 3.4 million jobs globally, while 43% of global renewable jobs are in China. As stated by the International Renewable Energy Agency, employment is concentrated in particular countries such as China, Brazil, the United States, India, Germany and Japan. Wind power accounts for 1.1 million jobs worldwide with China and Germany leading the way and the UK in 5th place with just under 41, 800 posts.  The UK, however, ranks second across Europe in terms of renewable energy employment.

How does NE(W)AVE fit into this framework?

In an age where renewable energies represent a growing and profitable industrial sector in Europe, it has become important to have a clear overview on the skills needed for jobs related to this field. In this context, the research for the NE(W)AVE – reNEWable e-VEt learning project has collected some important findings about VET provision and the situation of the labour market in this sector in the following countries: Italy, Denmark, Greece, Austria and Spain. The 3-year project funded by the Erasmus+ Programme, Key Action 2 – Strategic Partnership in the field of VET, aims to create, test and implement a comprehensive e-learning model for the future professionals in the renewable energies who want to upgrade/convert their competences and to re-qualify themselves in this field.

Research highlights Skills Shortage in the Renewable Energy

Through a comparative research, the project provides a general glance on European situation about renewable energy and the process of the conversion of skills since it sums up contributions from North, Central and South Europe, and also gives a clear view of the skill mismatches existing between job demand/learning offers in renewable energy. An interesting finding is in regards to the difficulties that companies involved in the research come across when searching for suitable candidates, mostly because of insufficient education or a lack of professional experience of the candidates and in some other cases, as it happens in Denmark, because companies do not receive enough applications. While technical knowledge is considered as a very important factor for the successful employability of learners in the green energy sector, a big importance is given to soft skills too. The companies interviewed listed the skills they consider as most crucial for candidates in order to find a job, such as, adaptability, flexibility, reactivity, innovative holistic thinking, networking skills, team work skills, project management skills, capacity to explore new markets and problem solving skills. This highlights the need for a learning path to include both technical knowledge and soft skills which can help candidates increase their employability and, as a consequence, companies find the most suitable employees in renewable energy sector. 

NE(W)AVE Next Steps

Following the research results, over the next months, the NE(W)AVE project partners will design an Open Online Course (OOC) with the aim of providing an innovative training course able to upgrade and convert existing competences of VET learners empowering them to work in the renewable energy sector. The OOC will have a versatile structure and contents in order to respond to different learners’ backgrounds and help them acquire the necessary knowledge in the field increasing their employability. This OOC which will be delivered next autumn, will be accompanied by a 2-week training course in Spain and in Italy, where OOC learners will have the chance to integrate the theoretical competences acquired in the e-course with essential practical skills.

Furthermore, to support the Open Online Course delivery across Italy, Denmark, Greece, Austria and Spain, a 5-day training course for mentors will take place in Austria in February 2019. Here six mentors, who later will manage the mobility of OOC learners in Spain and Italy, will be trained by an expert from CESIE and will develop transversal competences, such as mentoring, group management, working in an intercultural environment, evaluation processes. Through this training course, mentors acquiring the necessary skills, will get ready to host the learners in Spain and in Italy and to support them during all their training activities.

For more information about the project, read NE(W)AVE factsheet.

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