Utilities Middle East
Skilling for renewables
A decade ago the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP) warned policy-makers that ‘skills are not a pure servant of the economy expected to react and adjust to any change’.
Today, their warning assumes even greater importance given the imperative of making our economies fit for reaching the goal of the Paris Agreement, i.e., limiting global warming to well below 2°C and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5°C compared to preindustrial levels.
There is no denying that the energy transition is here, thanks to advancements in technology. But are we skilled enough to embrace it and push it to where we want it to be?
Investing in new skills and putting the workforce in the position of upgrading their knowledge on energy efficient and climate-friendly solutions through life-long learning, education and training needs to become a target of all policymakers and businesses involved in the transition.
This would mean forecasting the type of skills and the number of qualified professionals that will result into a gap analysis that shows where public intervention for skills development should be targeted.
According to a report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), comprehensive policies, led by education and training measures, labour market interventions, and industrial policies that support the leveraging of local capacities, are essential for sustaining the renewables jobs expansion.
IRENA has highlighted promising initiatives in several countries aimed at supporting the education and training of workers. Such efforts revolve around vocational training, curricula-building, teacher training, the use of information and communications technology, promotion of innovative public-private partnerships, and recruitment of under-represented groups such as women.
As a result, jobs in the renewable energy sector reached 11.5 million globally last year, led by solar PV with some 3.8 million jobs, or a third of the total, according to the seventh edition of IRENA’s Renewable Energy and Jobs Annual Review.