EuropeOn participated in a high-level roundtable with Commissioners Schmit and Breton on Skills and the Automotive Sector

From the #Skills4Climate campaign…

Since the launch of the Skills4Climate campaign last year, EuropeOn has been very active to raise awareness across Europe on the lack of up-to-date skills… and of skilled workers as a whole in the electrical contracting sector.

In order to switch on the twin digital and green transition, as supported by EU leaders, there is a substantial need for workers who can connect renewable energy in buildings, program energy management devices which are adapted to the end-users’ needs, install high-quality fiber optic for people to comfortably work or study from home, install charging point networks for electrical vehicles, and so on…

This need is both a threat – what if we do not find and train the necessary workforce? – and a chance – to create many jobs and increasingly interesting career paths for a successful and green recovery.

In that spirit, EuropeOn, with the support of other associations involved in the energy transition, wrote to the European Commission ahead of the presentation of the Recovery Plan in May, to show the virtuous circle that investing in a workforce trained with climate-related skills could trigger. This led us to cooperating with Commissioners Nicolas Schmit and Thierry Breton through their new initiative for skills, as part of the renewed EU Skills Agenda: the upcoming Pact for Skills.

As explained by the Commission, “In a nutshell, the Pact aims to mobilise and incentivise all   relevant   stakeholders   to   take   concrete commitments for the upskilling and reskilling of people of working age, and, when relevant, pool efforts thanks to partnerships.”

But this kind of project and commitments need time to be effectively addressed, and indeed, many initiatives are already flourishing all across the EU. Apart from the Blueprint for Skills in the Construction Sector (and other sectors), we can mention here diverse and innovative initiatives designed by EuropeOn’s Member associations,  from a web platform to make electricity jobs more attractive, to a humoristic series in 15 episodes on YouTube for young professionals to discover new careers, to a weekly radio show, to developing online training for all electrical contractors across Europe during the Covid lockdown, to participating in EuroSkills competitions, to the building of a Competence centre working at the EU level, etc.

…to the Pact for Skills

Coming back to the Pact for Skills, EuropeOn has been invited to contribute to a Roundtable gathering 15 CEOs, associations and VET experts to discuss with EU Commissioners Schmit and Breton on Skills and the Automotive sector. EuropeOn was represented by Janne Skogberg, Former President of our Association and of the Finnish Association STUL, and current Managing Director of Voltmen Oy, a small Finnish company specialised in EV chargers installation.

Following speeches from representatives of Volkswagen, Volvo and Northvolt, EuropeOn focused on the necessary shift of the automotive sector towards e-mobility. This shift naturally calls for new skills and completely new careers.

EuropeOn has been interested in the job potential of e-mobility for a while already. At the end of 2018 we released a study showing that 200.000 net jobs can be created in e-mobility, of which 57% directly for electrical contractors! And this projection is limited to 2030 and to passenger cars.

This seems even more feasible with the increased 2030 emissions targets proposed by the European Commission in September. In this respect, Commissioner Kadri Simson insisted on the need for renewable to reach 24% of the energy mix in transports by 2030. That means putting electro-mobility at the centre of this transformation and this is what we expect with the upcoming revision of the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive (AFID) in early 2021.

Following this discussion, EuropeOn will also participate in a new Roundtable focused on Construction, so stay tuned and, in the meantime, you can contribute to the Commission’s reflection by answering this survey (deadline: 12 October).