Why now?

The decarbonisation of the EU27 is expected to result in the loss of ~76k workers’ jobs in coal mines & plants until 2025 (154k until 2030). Partnership countries (GR, DE, AT, RO, BG, PL) will be particularly affected, currently representing 81% of the total EU coal workforce (190k). At the same time, a surge of jobs in the Renewable Energy Sources (RES) sector is
already happening and expected to continue and perhaps grow.

Due to similar skillset, coal workers are ideally fitted for covering unfilled positions in the RES sector. The skills of coal workers (e.g. durability in hazardous environments, employment of manual & sophisticated technologies) are sought after in the solar photovoltaic (PV) & wind industries, being particularly transferable to the occupations of solar PV
installer/technician & wind-farm/wind turbine technician. Thus, coal workers can avoid the lengthy training (~2 years) currently on offer by existing VET courses, requiring only a short course or on-the-job training.

VET education & the labour market are expected to be challenged by the spike of coal workers seeking reemployment in the near future and the surge in unfiled positions in RES. 
Reskilling initiatives for the transition of coal workers to the RES sector are currently extremely limited, with only 1 EU country offering relevant C-VET courses (DE; ~2,5 years degree). Job demand in the EU27 RES sector is growing by 304k new jobs/year until 2030 – 60% expected in wind & 24% in solar PV. In particular, the supply of new RES sector jobs in partnership countries could absorb up to 90% of current coal-related jobs. For example, DE, PL & GR are leading on offshore wind potential; certain DE coal regions have the highest potentially induced employment for wind energy (~16k new jobs) & rooftop-mounted solar PV systems (~3k).

Target Groups

-VET providers
-Coal industry workers (primarily low-skilled) that need to up-skill themselves to strengthen employability or job security
-Sector representatives and key players/employers, social partners, and associations of employees and employers
-VET authorities & career guidance bodies (incl. regional development agencies responsible for training initiatives)

Project Activities

-Identification of skill complementarities & mismatches between coal & RES sector workers’ occupational profiles, leading to the development of learning outcomes
-Development of a novel curriculum to facilitate coal workers’ reorientation to the RES industry
-Creation of tailored pedagogical materials, offered as Open Education Resources (OERs)
-Development of transition profiles, self-assessment tools & skills portfolios to promote customised learning & career reorientation
-Development of resources for the establishment of Joint Competence Centres for the career reorientation of coal workers
-Communication & dissemination of outputs through multiplier events

Project Results

-Learning outcomes for coal workers’ career reorientation
-Learning units, career reorientation toolkit & guidelines to implement successful transitions
-Open Educational Resources in 6 languages
-Strategic & operational plans for the establishment of Joint Competence Centres
-Pilot run of a Joint Competence Centre for career reorientation & reskilling
-6 national info-days to promote project results & public discussion on increasing the quality & effectiveness of VET for coal workers.