Create jobs by rethinking our relationship with energy

Changing relationships with energy
Changing relationships with energy

EU Sustainable Energy Week’s focus on renewables supports a growing, job-creating sector in Europe. By encouraging us to rethink our relationship with energy, and by promoting further opportunities for renewables, Europe is creating social and economic value for everyone in the decades to come.

Ambitious objectives for resilient renewables

Europe’s strong targets for renewable energy are not just a question of principle; they also build more solid foundations for the renewable energy sector. This sector represents a growing share of our economy, and enables jobs to be created – jobs which cannot be outsourced – building up Member States’ economies with new companies. By setting ambitious medium-, long-, and very-long-term objectives, the European Commission is paving the way to a sustainable alliance between jobs and the environment, breaking down the lingering prejudice that environmental protection destroys jobs.

Specialist engineers in each region

Until recently, the technical specialists required to build or maintain renewable energy installations were a rare commodity. To develop renewable energy projects, Member States often had to import these people from neighbouring countries which are more advanced in this field, such as Germany or Austria. But in the last few years, each Member State has made enormous progress. Engineers – whether specialists in electromechanics, chemistry, acoustics, electricity, material physics or fluid management – are now available close to countries’ wind turbines, biomass development units, hydro-electric installations and photovoltaic installations. All this has been made possible thanks to the training and qualification efforts put in place by the respective regions.

Training technicians to return to work

In addition to engineers to create a renewables-based economy, the sector needs skilled technicians on the ground – specialists in data and information, maintenance, security and many other roles. The European Commission’s commitment to renewable energy has helped bring women and men (back) into sustainable work, including some who were leaving the jobs market. With the right training, these women and men can succeed in a secure role with a long career ahead of them. Renewable energy installations have a relatively long lifespan, allowing continuous, value-enhancing work that contributes to the financial security of employees and their communities.

Jobs for people hit by the crisis

The labour market has gone through significant changes in recent times. Industries such as steel and even petrochemicals can no longer support as many engineers and technicians as they did in the past. Through its firm support for renewable energy and rational energy use, Europe gives these people the opportunity to continue working in a sector which values their knowledge and skills, consolidated through additional training on renewable energy issues. This paradigm shift also opens up new career opportunities and sources of income for diverse people such as town planners, legal experts, designers, farmers and others.

Training paths reconfigured by Member States

Public authorities have come into their own in training, whether centralised or decentralised, regional or local. New training paths have been implemented, creating bridges between academia and enterprise to produce the training that stakeholders want. Here, too, this process is often supported financially by Europe (in particular, through the European Structural and Investment Funds), in line with its belief that training ensures the future of both our planet and our economies.

More information

European energy and employment policies

EU Sustainable Energy Week

European Sustainable Energy Week is a month-long series of activities to build a secure energy future for Europe. It includes the EUSEW Policy Conference, Energy Days and Networking Village and the EU Sustainable Energy Awards.  Launched in 2006, EUSEW is organised by the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) in close cooperation with Directorate-General for Energy. It brings together public authorities, private companies, NGOs and consumers to promote initiatives to save energy and move towards renewables for clean, secure and efficient power.

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