Not just engineers and highly specialized technicians: from social sciences to sustainable architecture, sustainability is revealing the need for new professions, skillsets and awareness – for “green careers”. The key word is flexibility.
By 2050, the renewable energy sector will have produced 42 million jobs. This prediction from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)’s Global Renewables Outlook was echoed by the International Labour Organization (ILO), which asserted that implementing the Paris Agreement to fight climate change may require the creation of up to 18 million new jobs.
Green jobs contribute to a more sustainable world, especially – but not exclusively – from an environmental perspective. They concern not only the energy transition but also agriculture, the manufacturing sector, the circular economy, research and development, administration and services. “I want to reassure the new generations by immediately dispelling a myth: green jobs are not just in engineering,” Salvatore Bernabei, CEO of Enel Green Power, explained recently while taking part in Futuro@lavoro, a project organized by the Italian daily La Repubblicatogether with Bocconi University in Milan.
“The meaning of the term ‘green job’ extends beyond environmental considerations: it is an integral part of a new model of green, sustainable development,” explained Bernabei. “Technology is certainly an important component. In our ranks we have engineers, IT experts, chemists, mechanics, electrical engineers and so on, but there’s a need for everything and everyone.” For some time now, EGP has opened its doors to various skills: professionals in economics and finance, security managers, market and geopolitical analysts, not to mention climatologists, meteorologists and biologists. But also experts in communications and social sciences, as well as legal professionals tasked with checking that every EGP site is compliant with the relevant local and national regulations. These are all “green careers”: they share the strategic goal of supporting human development without having a negative impact on the ecosystem or the local community, but rather helping them grow and adding to their well-being.
With this in mind, EGP is also investing in future generations, creating new opportunities for young people and shared value with the communities in which we work around the world. In Italy the School4Life project, developed in collaboration with the Elis training center, has already involved around 800 students and 25 schools in a program for quality education, guiding them towards the jobs of the future and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects. Another recent initiative, the “Energie per Crescere” program (“Energy for Growth”), also created in collaboration with Elis, aims to help around 5,500 young people find employment within the next two years, for the most part as grid technicians.
Other projects aimed at young people contribute to the prosperity of the communities in which we operate. In the village of Shongoane in South Africa, a program for children and teens aged 7 to 14 has been launched for those who had never used a computer before, to enable them to learn basic IT and programming skills. EGP is also providing scholarships for more than twenty young women from disadvantaged areas in South Africa who would otherwise be unable to attend school or university.
In Colombia, thanks to a partnership with the non-profit United Way, 40 teachers have been trained to use Excel and virtual digital tools. At the Santa Elena de Piedritas school in Peru,thanks to an agreement with the NGO Crea+, teachers, parents and students are trained remotely in digital learning technologies. And in urban areas near EGP power plants, a project has been launched to distribute computers we no longer use.
Young people are the energy of tomorrow: that’s why it’s essential to listen to what they have to say in order to better understand their vision and to take it into account in the choices we make every day.