EuropeOn invited by the Czech government to come and speak at the SET Plan Conference

EuropeOn, leading the Skills4Climate campaign and representing a sector totalising close to 2 million professionals who concretely implementing the energy transition across Europe, was invited to the SET Plan Conference in Prague (9-10 November). The host is the Czech government, which holds the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU until the end of 2022.

But what is the SET Plan about? This initiative was launched in 2008 as a first step to establish a common energy technology policy, with the ultimate goal of developing and deploying cost-effective low carbon technologies. Recently, the managers of the Plan became increasingly aware that while we have to look at the technologies, we cannot ignore the need for skills and skilled people in sufficient number.

EuropeOn’s General Secretary, Julie Beaufils, was invited in a panel discussion dealing with
“Generating skills and jobs for the twin transition”, along with experts from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the European Energy Research Alliance, the Czech Technical University and the European Heat Pump Association (EHPA).

Julie Beaufils emphasised that up-skilling existing professionals is much needed but still falls short to achieve the Green Deal objectives, because we are facing increasing vacancies in our sector, at a time where we actually need to recruit more talents than ever. One often assumes that it is desirable to work in the twin transition and mitigate climate change, yet, some essential careers struggle to find candidates: technical careers, such as the ones provided in the electrical contracting sector. EuropeOn and its members call on Members States, with the support of the EU, to make technical education more desirable, and as desirable as university degrees: we need “high-tech climate fighters”, to quote Minister Claude Turmes (see previous news), and these heroes will be “doers”, who undergo technical education.

While the observation of a bad image of technical education and careers is generally shared across Europe, solutions to address it can be varied: from awareness campaigns to updated programmes, funding for top-notch equipment, increased pays for technical teachers and for apprentices…

European conferences are also a good context for networking. While in Prague, we met with the Director of the Czech Electrical and Electronic Association, who indeed shares the observations detailed above. The Czech association and its members are paving the way for a twin transition, focusing equally on energy AND digitalisation. Not only do they look into smart building, BIM, automation and robotics, all topics frequently discussed within EuropeOn, but they are also exploring blockchain technologies… some “food for thought” on our way back to Brussels!