Fabian Demicoli

GRTU participates in Skills Needs in Greening Economies Conference


GRTU Renewable
Energy Section President Noel Gauci has last week participated in a very
interesting  conference on Skills Needs
in Greening Economies. It was very encouraging to note that most issues we face
in Malta are similar to those in other European countries, in Malta however
these issues are more acute.

The main
issue discussed was the need for skills to be able to maintain existing jobs
and further investing in skills for green jobs. At the same time that lay-offs
were inevitably created in some countries we saw the creation of new green jobs
however individuals who were used to traditional jobs needed to be trained so
that they could fit in the newly created green jobs. Adaptation here is also a
key element, and this applies both for industry and the workforce. For instance
a diesel engine manufacturing company needed to adapt and restructure to start
manufacturing gas engines in order to remain sustainable and competitive, while
its employees needed to be trained and skilled for such a change and to
maintain their jobs. This is a case where the companies became greener and so
did the jobs in that company.

One
project presented by Jerry Van Den Berg was of particular interest for Malta.
The project addressed issues such as the target to treat all waste as a
resource by 2020. Recycling and re-use are very attractive and have multiple
benefits for any country, creating substantial job generation.

Another
project was presented from Germany called Qualergy 2020, a project funded by
Intelligent Energy Europe. This project is also of particular interest for
Malta and we encourage the undertaking of similar project. The project focused
on developing new techniques for building energy efficient buildings in every
aspect such as the construction materials used, renewable heat (in Malta's case
we can include cooling), PV electricity, Biogas/mass, etc.

The
European Commission Directorate General Education and Culture spoke about skill
shortages in the EU. These ranged from basic skills to shortages of skills
related to trades people, sales persons and engineers. The best way to tackle
this problem is for education institutions to Education institutions to partner
and work closely with industry.

During
the conference the need for governments to put tools (including funds) at the disposal
of the private sector, industry, companies was particularly stressed. This to
develop technologies and create RES related jobs.

It is
always a pity when enthusiastic individuals are not listened to and thus not
taken into consideration when governments takes decisions. Governments need to
listen more to social partners and experts in various sectors. Otherwise the
best brains are discouraged and lost.

One EU
representative very diplomatically remarked that he was surprised to see
countries participating included Latvia, Romania, Bulgaria and….. Malta! Malta
needs to work hard to be reach the levels of countries like UK, Germany and
Scandinavia.

Patrick
Itschert concluded that social partners are instrumental and essential for
successful sustainable green jobs creation. Recognition is essential for
initiatives taken by social partners. (This is a case in point for our Green MT
and GRTU APPROVED & PVPFS schemes).

Of
course change will bring consequences, but change is necessary and if we see
what happened in other countries, we realize it is not as bad and difficult as
it seems. In the end training will also prove to be key for better jobs, better
wages, and better lives. Change in lifestyle can lead to a better environment.
It is a shame that in many institutions the right hand does not know what the
left hand is doing, and Governments should put their act together. Coordination
is important, governments should listen to and involve social partners.

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