- Education for Digitalisation of Energy – EDDIE
The EDDIE project aims at bringing together all the relevant stakeholders in the energy value chain such as industry, education and training providers, European organisations, recruiters, social partners, and public authorities towards developing a long-term strategy for the education in digitalisation of the European energy sector. The objective is to enable the matching between the current and future demand of skills necessary for the digitalisation of the energy sector and the supply of improved Vocational Education and Training (VET) systems and beyond.
Start date: 1 January 2020
End Date: 31 December 2023
Education, energy sector including electricity, oil and gas, and heating and cooling.
- Belgium, Cyprus, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Romania, Spain, Sweden
- Scope of the project
The EDDIE project proposes an innovative strategy for education in the European energy sector as an industry-driven movement, where the skills of future experts are trained based on the real world applications. This will be materialised in the Sector Skill Strategy for the Digitalisation of the Energy value chain. The strategy will be demonstrated and validated in multiple pilots, and hopefully implemented as a sustainable institution to be created in the last phase of the project. An interdisciplinary approach is followed, including green and soft skills, social science, economics, and gender dimension, looking for synergies and collaboration with other projects and initiatives in Europe.
- Development of a Sector Skill Strategy for Education in the Digitalisation of the Energy value chain, based on the sustainable cooperation between key industry stakeholders, education and training providers, social partners, and public authorities.
- Development of a European Sectoral Skills Alliance to set up sustainable cooperation, beyond the end of the project, on skills development between the education and training providers, the energy industry, umbrella associations, workers and social stakeholders, and public authorities, considering global, societal, and technological current and future trends.
- Implementation of improved/new qualifications in national VET and beyond systems and sectorial upskilling and reskilling structures (exchange of existing tools, best practices exchange, etc) and efficient management of knowledge to adjust the workforce proactively to the deployment and implementation of new technologies and trends in the energy value chain, anticipating training and curricula requirements at EQF levels 4 to 8 (for both VET and higher education).
- Ensure the appropriate visibility and wide dissemination and exploitation of the work of the strategy, including at the EU, national and regional levels, taking very much into account the results of the multiple pilots (under development in autumn 2022), and including the necessary policy recommendations by mobilising and integrating stakeholders and policymakers of the EU and national level.
- Provide a sustainable framework that allows education providers to define and update educational programmes responding to industry changes, also providing a monitoring system able to make continuous adjustments for upcoming new developments and environments.
- Improve the attractiveness of the energy sector as a career choice, in particular among the young, while also aiming for gender balance in the sector, considering both recruitment and talent retention.
- Short description
The EDDIE project is going to create new industry-driven educational approaches tailored to the industrial application in the energy sector. This is a new strategic approach for VET and beyond in the European energy sector that constitutes a real educational revolution in Europe since the traditional educational paths (mainly focused on fundamental and theoretical aspects) are not suitable for this scenario. Digitalisation is asking to think in an innovative, transversal way, where the skills emerge as a need of the application of technological developments. Therefore, a practical experience-based approach will be applied, where hands-on learning will be the core more than classroom-based learning. The purpose of the EDDIE project is the foundation of a Skills Alliance in the energy sector to develop a Sector Skills Strategy for the Digitalisation of the energy value chain. The industry-driven strategy will meet and anticipate the skills’ demands for the sustainable growth and digitalisation of the European energy sector, fostering cooperation among all the stakeholders.
- Key findings
The consortium developed a dedicated survey to obtain necessary feedback from actors across the whole energy system (electricity, heat and cooling, oil and gas, digital data), with diversity in terms of geographic location, size, type of organisation, and operational focus (DSOs, TSOs, suppliers, service providers, etc). The survey aimed to address the main challenges the industry faces towards the digitalisation of the energy system, the technologies and tools usage, the added value produced, and the new skills needed in the new digital era. Some key findings include:
- The lack of adequate skills of employees.
- Reduced costs are seen as the most impactful added value from digitalisation.
- Digitalisation is regarded as a key factor for enabling new and green technologies.
- Challenges are not particularly differentiated among energy system sectors.
- Acceptance of new technologies and privacy concerns are the main social challenges.
- Technology integration and data management are important technical challenges.
- The recent COVID-19 crisis underlined the importance of digitalisation in the energy system.
To keep up with the changing environment a multidimensional methodology was developed to address skill mismatches between the industry and the education and training providers, while also identifying relevant occupations and their respective requirements. The first step for the identification of skill gaps was the identification of the skills needed from the industry to tackle challenges related to digitalisation, as well as to prepare for the digital transformation.
The skill demand was addressed via another dedicated survey, which included the level of expertise required for specific skills, as well as the current coverage of those skills in the industry. About 60 industrial companies responded to the survey providing a clear overview of the skill demand in the energy sector. Moreover, 5 interviews with executives from the industry validated and complemented the survey’s results.
Another crucial parameter to identify skill gaps is the skill offer by Education and Training (ET) providers (higher education and VET). A survey was developed to gather information from ET providers regarding the skills and knowledge they provide and the corresponding skill level that a graduate is expected to reach while attending specific study programmes. 33 important ET providers responded to the survey. Industrial training programs and corporate universities were reviewed to see how the industry itself reskills and upskills employees. The analysis showed a discrepancy between current and future demand of abilities for multiple working domains, while digitalisation and technological changes are transforming the way of living and working.
The work performed by EDDIE partners to identify skill gaps, points out that the key areas towards digitalisation, as reflected by different analyses performed in this work, converge towards data management and analysis, big data, cybersecurity, and programming & development competencies. An example of the analysis is shown in the following figure.
Apart from the skill gaps and needs, a bottom-up approach was developed to map and select effective VET training and life-long learning programmes, which were created and delivered as a result of a need identified on behalf of the industry. Some of the conclusions identified include:
- VET programmes need to be redesigned to be aligned with the new EC Directives published.
- Current VET provision for the sector do not sufficiently reflect employers’ skill needs; they are based on somewhat outdated curricula that should be strengthened with more work-based learning and reflect the skill needs of sub-sectors.
- In this context, reskilling professionals of the sector is of equal importance to ensure that there are no knowledge gaps and that all professionals possess the necessary knowledge and skills
- The digitalisation of VET provision is an aspect that has been somewhat neglected, but needs to be revisited, better planned, and conceived outside of the strict context of online or blended teaching approaches.
- The effective and consistent collaboration of all stakeholders in the energy sector is imperative, not just for the enhancement of work-based learning (which prepares a market-ready workforce), but most importantly because the work towards energy sustainability should be undertaken by all the stakeholders involved.
- There is a pronounced need to enhance the capacities of the trainers and contribute to their upskilling to drive the overall change towards energy efficiency through training provision across the different target groups (from managers to government representatives, to households).
- The establishment of cooperation mechanisms among the stakeholders involved should be considered a priority, given that energy efficiency is not a matter that concerns a single professional group or just the consumers, but should be considered and undertaken as a community effort for environmental sustainability.