‘Global revolution’ in net zero skills required

In order for the world to meet its vital climate target by 2050, professional and vocational training must undergo a transformation, boosting accessibility and availability to meet the impending spike in demand. 

man in orange and white striped polo shirt beside woman in black and white floral dress

Energy transition technology and engineering firm Fondazione MAIRE presented a report at COP28 this month, based on an IPSOS research study across 10 countries. 1,700 interviews with professionals were conducted in the process, with input from 15 ‘opinion leaders’ working in sustainability, renewables, and other green industries. 

According to the results, 90% of those surveyed had heard of the energy transition, with two-thirds considering this a priority in their country and an opportunity to create new jobs. Some two-fifths believe companies should also prioritise innovation of sustainable products and services, and one-third said businesses must adopt new processes to make this happen. 

Many environmentally-aligned sectors are already suffering from a skills shortages, prompted stern criticism of governments for failing to ensure an adequate work force. Recent news that a fundamental international pledge to transition away from fossil fuels was finally brokered at COP28 will only drive more determined investment in these sectors, although critics have pointed to a ‘litany of loopholes’ that ask serious questions about what the actual impact of the deal might be.

This year, Environment Journal looked at how one local authority was taking steps to mitigate a shortage of trained workers to help with retrofit projects, with similar requirements across the country as the gap between supply and demand grows. Survey participants in Britain stressed the need for creative and critical thinkers, and experts in analytics to take up green jobs.

Many respondents in the Middle East, where transition poses a particularly existential threat to the region’s economy, expressed alarm at an overall lack of education and upskilling. Fondazione MAIRE’s summary concludes that utilising all existing technologies is equally important to developing new solutions, and a wider technical response to climate change is needed. That requires more focus on how we use technology, products and infrastructure today, while continuing research and development of new ideas and design. You can access the full report here.

‘Addressing the energy and net zero transition needs us to embrace the concept of the ‘humanist engineer’ as a new type of transformation agent,’ said Fabrizio Di Amato, MAIRE Group and Fondazione Chairman. ‘These people will navigate complexity and find solutions that include technological innovation, attention to economic, environmental and social needs and cultural aspects. Our Group has set the contribution to climate goals as a priority in its strategic plan. We want to invest on the society evolution on a long-term basis and to create impact both through our technologies and through the social activity of our foundation. The skills that we can create today will make the real difference in twenty-five years.’

More on green skills and training: 

COP can only improve with more meaningful youth engagement

Huge green jobs gain as Aira heat pumps launch in UK

Low carbon heating, cooling, ventilation training centre reopens in Birmingham

Image: ThisisEngineering RAEng


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