#Skills4Climate: EuropeOn and supporters call on the EU Commission President to address the lack of skilled professionals as a top priority for the energy transition

EuropeOn, supported by 17 fellow associations involved in the green and digital transitions, has been raising EU policymakers’ awareness for several years now on the need to intertwine skills and climate policies, in order to deliver the EU Green Deal objectives all across Europe, under our flagship #Skills4Climate campaign.

In light of the Fit for 55 Package negotiations, the European Year of Youth and the current geopolitical and energy context, EuropeOn has written on 7 March to EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to emphasise the need to address the lack of skilled professionals as a top priority.

Indeed, while policymakers are increasingly aware of the need to up- and re-skill the European workforce for the green and digital transitions, the lack of candidates itself is too often overlooked, especially regarding technical careers which suffer from an image deficit in many countries. This is the elephant in the room.

In all European countries, electrical contractors, comprising 1.8 million professionals, report increasing difficulties in finding qualified professionals. The gap between available and needed professionals risks becoming even deeper with the new Fit for 55 targets and could turn into an unexpected bottleneck for the EU Green Deal’s achievement. This threat could materialise even sooner given the geopolitical context that encourages Europe to diversify its energy mix and accelerate the green transition.

Notwithstanding, EuropeOn is determined to highlight the opportunities provided by the energy transition to create abundant, sustainable, purposeful and local jobs for the younger generation as well as for workers wishing to up- or re-skill.

It is no secret that the EU only has supporting competences regarding education and labour policies, however, it has shared competences for energy and environment policies, and therefore must ensure that Member States take all necessary actions to meet EU targets. Therefore, EuropeOn calls on the Commission to take action urgently in three different ways, that are detailed in the letter:

  • The revision/recast of the Fit for 55 Package should require Member States to assess the gap between available and needed installation professionals to achieve EU climate and energy objectives. 
  • An ambitious EU campaign must be launched to change mindsets across Europe and enhance the attractiveness of technical/vocational education and careers in the twin transitions.
  • Setting up a “Skills4Climate/Climate crafters Platform”, similar to the “Just Transition Platform”, is key to gather Member States, social partners, academia and all relevant EU and national stakeholders.

Read EuropeOn’s letter to President Ursula von der Leyen here.