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France leads the way in upskilling workers for the upcoming battery revolution

Jordan O'Brien

Jordan O'Brien

Contributing Editor
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Lithium-Ion battery

We’ve written many times about how the UK needs to upskill its workforce to compete in the upcoming battery revolution, but it seems France’s Government is actually getting the message. 

With three Gigafactories already set to be in operation by 2023, the French Government has decided that now is the best time to start training a skilled workforce for them. That’s why it has partnered with EIT InnoEnergy to set up the EBA250 Academy in France to reskill and upskill tens of thousands of workers for the French battery industry. 

EIT InnoEnergy, coordinating the industrial work under the European Battery Alliance, will spearhead an education-sharing platform to dramatically reduce the costs of reskilling and upskilling.

The public-private partnership will address the emerging skills gap with approximately 800,000 qualified workers required in the European battery industry by 2025. This includes the lack of transferrable digital skills needed to support the digitalisation of the entire value chain, from factory automation with industry 4.0 to AI application.

In France alone, the EBA250 Academy will train 150,000 people by 2025 to support the transitioning of jobs from the combustion engine to the electric vehicle industry. Reskilling the workforce will be essential in ensuring Europe meets its Green Deal targets by safeguarding sufficient battery capacity to be brought forward to support the electrification of transport and decarbonisation of energy.

EIT InnoEnergy plans to urgently roll-out its training programme in France and throughout Europe to upskill personnel for technician, engineering and researcher positions. The courses have been designed by experts currently working in the battery sector and will cover a range of topics from electromobility, residential storage and grid storage, to recycling and data science. The modules will be delivered by local training organisations online, although some may require physical attendance at local training facilities, and any engineer or executives working in energy can apply.

Welcoming the announcement, Diego Pavia, CEO of EIT InnoEnergy, commented, “The EBA250 Academy will upskill people who will design and operate the European batteries value chain, from upstream to recycling. It ensures we can deliver the annual €250 billion battery value chain by 2025, as envisioned in 2017 when European Commission Vice President Šefčovič launched the European Battery Alliance and mandated EIT InnoEnergy to lead the industrial ecosystem. It is also a leading example of how Europe is succeeding in addressing the upskilling of our people and creates the new added value jobs required by the green transition.”

Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič, in charge of the European Battery Alliance added, “2021 could be another defining year for the European Battery Alliance – also thanks to our resolute collective action to address the fast-emerging skills challenge. The new battery industry requires a new set of skills. Reskilling and upskilling programmes, such as the EBA250 Academy, will therefore help match skills with labour market needs as well as reinforce the social dimension of Europe’s recovery. In this context, I am glad to see that Europe continues to be a global hotspot for battery investment. By 2025, we are set to manufacture enough battery cells each year to power at least six million electric cars.”

Along with France, EIT InnoEnergy is already implementing the EBA250 Academy in Spain and plans to roll out the programme across Europe during 2021.

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