Workers are at the heart of the clean energy transition which will lead to a massive growth in energy jobs. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) estimates that the total number of jobs in the wider field of energy could increase from 58 million in 2017 to 100 million globally by 2050. Already today wind employs 1.2 million people globally and 300,000 people in Europe alone.
“The transition from fossil fuels to renewables has only just begun. Take wind energy jobs in Europe: they are set to rise to 450,000 by 2030 – an increase of 50% from today. For this to become reality, Europe needs a skills and training revolution. But most importantly, we need to inspire young girls and boys to think about questions of climate, energy and sustainability”, says WindEurope Deputy CEO Malgosia Bartosik.
Skilled labour shortage in renewable energy
Expanding the skill base will require more vocational training, stronger curricula, dedicated teacher training and enhanced technology use. But some experts fear a shortage of skilled labour and young talent in the renewable energy sector that could slow down the global energy transition. In a recent Deloitte Renewable Energy Transition Survey, respondents identified the lack of skilled staff as one of the main challenges for companies during the energy transition.
Onshore and offshore wind energy installations are predicted to grow rapidly. Securing young talent will be key to deliver the 1,000 GW of onshore wind and 300 GW of offshore wind the EU is targeting by 2050.
With the LearnWind hub, WindEurope wants to help tackling this challenge. LearnWind includes a variety of educational materials for children of different age groups. Dedicated books and pictures illustrate basic concepts of climate change, renewable energy and the functioning of modern wind turbines to younger kids. Teaching resources enable parents and teachers to explain the advantages of wind energy to young students. And new Offshorewind4kids projects teach basic engineering skills to kids in a practical way, building floating wind turbine structures at the seaside.
The new book ‘When I Grow Up’ gathers inspiring stories from 21 people working in clean energy. It shows a wide spectrum of different job profiles, among others portraying wind energy pioneer Hendrik Stiesdal, Google’s Brian Denvir, Microsoft’s Vanessa Miler-Fels, IRENA’s Rabia Ferroukhi and Jos De Krieger, a Dutch architect who designed children’s playgrounds made of recycled wind turbine blades. In short stories each of them explains their current job, the skills it requires and why they are passionate about working in clean energy.
“With LearnWind and the book ’When I Grow Up’ we want to show the wide range of job opportunities in clean energy. We want to inspire the talents of tomorrow to join our industry and help shape the future of energy generation. The book portrays men and women working in clean energy around the world. We hope that these stories will encourage young people to consider similar careers, regardless of where they are from, what their interests are and whether they are girls or boys. Of the 1.2 million people working in wind energy globally, just over one fifth are women today. Despite some progress on workforce diversity and gender balance much remains to be done to even the playing field for women and tap into their talents and ideas”, says Malgosia Bartosik.
‘When I Grow Up’ was developed together with GWEC and is now available in English, with other language versions to follow soon.