The transition to a greener and more sustainable economy is no longer a vision of the future, but a tangible reality.
In Spain, this change is leading to a radical change in the education sector, with a growing demand for qualified professionals in the fields of green energy and sustainability.
The government estimates that 468,000 jobs will be created in the sector and 20,000 new training places will be opened in the sector over the next decade.
This boom has led universities and vocational centers to adapt and expand their academic programs, although they still face the challenge of generating enough interest among students.
It may be that in the near future, training in sustainability or green energy will be as important for work as including hobbies on your CV that support your calling, for example if you want to be part of an environmental NGO or do volunteer work.
The latest Future of Jobs report from the World Economic Forum (WEF, also known as the Davos Forum) highlights the growing importance of the green sector worldwide.
According to the WEF, ESG criteria (environmental, social and corporate governance factors taken into account when investing in a company) together with the “reconfiguration of more local supply chains” lead to job creation.
In this sense, Mikael Damberg, Swedish Finance Minister, emphasized at the Davos Forum that “many of the jobs of the future will have their origins in the energy transition.”
A statement that is very well received in the Spanish context.
And according to a study by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, our country is the third country in the European Union with the most jobs related to these energies.
The need for skilled workers in the field of green energy and sustainability is more urgent than ever.
However, universities such as the Polytechnic Faculty of Mining Engineering at the University of Cantabria cannot fill all places despite high employability.
Specifically, Julio Manuel de Luis, director of the school, told El País that they had 90 places for the Energy Resources and Mining Resources degrees, of which only 55 were covered, although employability was almost assured.
According to your employment details, 3 years after completing your energy resources studies:
- 85% are working (while others continue to study or prepare for competitive exams)
- 100% full time work
- 81% have a permanent contract
- 20 of the 22 students on his master’s degree work in the industry at the same time
On the other hand, think about the importance of raw materials in the sustainable roadmap.
“The energy transition is not just about replacing coal, gas or oil with air or water. Raw materials are needed that are on this sustainable roadmap: tons of copper for wind turbines or lithium for batteries,” he explained.
Despite the high demand for jobs, degrees in sustainability do not generate the same expectations as other fields such as data science or artificial intelligence.
Institutions such as the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM) and the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) are renewing their programs to attract more students.
Marcelo Ortega, Professor at the UPM School of Mines, highlights the versatility of these degrees and the wide range of employment opportunities they offer.
The professor points out that students who choose such training “are in the right place at the right time, because the energy transition is in their hands.”
He made it clear that the perception of the profession was wrong.
“When someone thinks of a mining engineer, they imagine them with a face full of coal, but that has changed because without them you can’t have a cell phone. In recent years, we schools have washed our faces, but we still have to put on makeup and make ourselves known.”
Likewise, he added that companies are increasingly asking for “more graduates and I can’t send them because there aren’t any, they’re all working.”
According to Lluís Ribas, coordinator of the “Management of Smart and Sustainable Cities” course at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), courses related to energy and sustainability are characterized by their versatility and extensive employment opportunities.
“Almost everyone lives in urbanized environments and institutions need to plan services and this requires studies and project development,” he said.
In this way, he expressed that students of this course can usually work together in multidisciplinary teams combining engineering knowledge and knowledge of information and communication technologies (ICT) and planning of urban environments in areas such as “geography, politics, business, urban science, sustainable development goals. “
Ribas therefore recalled that five university faculties are involved in this course.
Regarding his employability, he said that despite the lack of official data, based on the results obtained in the internships, it can be assumed that it “exceeds 85%”.
“Almost all students find external internships without any problems. “25% ends up in city councils, 35% in institutions linked to the city administration and the other 40% goes to companies: services (water, transport or pollution), consultancies, cartography …,” he listed.
Just like in Spain, the global labor market is undergoing a significant shift towards sustainability, with an increasing focus on “green jobs”.
According to the World Economic Forum, these jobs are expected to grow exponentially, with a forecast of 395 million jobs by 2030.
According to a count by The Balance Careers website cited by the BBC, these are the ten “green jobs” most in demand in the international job market:
- Sustainability Director: This professional leads sustainability initiatives in organizations and ensures their operations are environmentally conscious.
- Sustainable building contractor: involves engineers, architects and designers in the creation of structures that respect sustainability principles.
- Environmental lawyer: The lawyer specializing in environmental law advises on regulations related to air quality, water and waste management.
- Geoscientist: This professional studies the composition of soils and natural resources and often works with environmental scientists.
- Environmental engineer: advises companies and governments on how to minimize the environmental impact of their projects.
- Hydrologist: focuses on studying the quality and availability of water, which are essential for the sustainable management of this vital resource.
- Environmental scientist: works to make decisions that impact the environment, people and animals.
- City builder: uses urban spaces to grow food, contributing to food sustainability and reducing the carbon footprint.
- Conservation scientist: is dedicated to the management of parks and forests and the protection of the environment and native species.
- City planner: designs land use programs to develop sustainable and efficient communities.
The transition to a greener, more sustainable future is underway and with it the need for a new generation of trained professionals.
Universities and vocational training centers are playing a critical role in this transformation by adapting their programs to train tomorrow’s leaders in sustainability and renewable energy.
The demand is there; The challenge now is to inspire young people to take responsibility and lead the way towards a more sustainable future.