EU RES-SKILL project

Last updated: 3 August 2023

The RES-SKILL project has an objective to strengthen vocational education and training (VET) for coal workers to secure jobs in the renewable energy space. According to the initiative, the European Union’s carbon agenda will displace around 76 000 jobs in coal mines and coal power plants by 2025 and 154 000 jobs by 2030. However, growth in renewable energy will create new jobs in the energy sector. The programme notes a similar skillset between coal workers and those in the renewables sector. For example, some skills of coal workers, such as experience in hazardous environments as well as employment of manual and sophisticated technologies, are applicable in the solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind industries, especially for solar PV installers and technicians as well as for windfarm and wind turbine operators. In this regard, coal workers can more quickly transfer their skills, bypassing lengthy training of around two years for VET courses; instead, they might only need a short course or on-the-job training.

The project employs a three-step methodology: 1) identifying the main occupation profiles in the coal industry and renewables sector, 2) documentation of skills in the coal industry and renewables sector, and 3) development of transition profiles based on skills matching. As part of this initiative, the RES-SKILL project develops a tailored curriculum and training content to support the integration of coal workers in renewables jobs, supports VET providers integrate RES-SKILL materials into their offerings, and improves coordination between VET providers and employers to identify opportunities that facilitate coal workers transition to the renewables sector. 

In particular, the project identifies synergies and misalignments on skills between the job descriptions of coal and renewables sector workers to better target training. It also creates tailored teaching materials that are offered as open education resources (so far in six languages) as well as develops self-assessment tools and skills portfolios to tailor retraining efforts. The project also develops resources to set up Joint Competence Centres to reorient the careers of coal workers. Target groups of the project include: VET providers; coal industry workers (especially lowskilled workers); companies, social partners, and worker associations; and VET authorities and career advisory organisations (including regional development agencies that oversee training programmes). The project is co-funded by the EU Erasmus+ Programme. 

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