Energy Switch getting the Zuid-Holland job market ready for the energy transition

News - 17 September 2021

The switch from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy requires enormous investments, not only in technology, but in people as well. For the energy transition to be a success, it is important that employees end up in the right place, with the right knowledge and skills. The Energy Switch Zuid-Holland subagreement, which is under the direction of TU Delft, is an important step towards achieving this ambition.

Climate Agreement
A timely and successful transition to a sustainable energy system will have a considerable impact on the job market. Hence it is not surprising that the Climate Agreement – the set of measures announced by the third Rutte government in June 2019 – specifies the need for extra staff in numerous sectors. At the same time, the energy transition will also lead to the loss of jobs. For this reason, various parties in the province of Zuid-Holland have decided to join forces by bundling projects and initiatives in an effort to better align supply and demand, which is currently with employers.

Energy Switch is a subagreement of the Human Capital Agreement signed by 66 parties and sectors in the province of Zuid-Holland in June 2019. The initiators of the agreement are the Province of Zuid-Holland and Economic Board Zuid-Holland, and its aim is the optimum deployment of the talents of working people. The objective of Energy Switch is to scout, mobilise and then match and train people who wish to help accelerate the energy transition. The initiative in this regard is with TU Delft and The Green Village, the sustainable living lab located on the campus.

Member of the Zuid-Holland Provincial Executive Willy de Zoete explains: ‘I come across them all over the province of Zuid-Holland: inspiring companies and inspiring people. They are often both excited at the thought of working to make the world a better place, except the one group doesn't necessarily know about the other. Energy Switch's efforts to support the business community in Zuid-Holland in their search for qualified staff works both ways of course. For example, we try to match someone who wants to learn something new with a study programme or an education institution. This is all in order to give the energy transition a boost and in this way better prepare Zuid-Holland for the future.’

Willem van Valkenburg, co-founder and Director of the Extension School for open and online education at TU Delft, is also pleased with the signing of the subagreement. Van Valkenburg: ‘This is a very welcome initiative, and comes at exactly the right time. If we want to create a sustainable society, we need to align education with the job market to ensure that we really end up with enough qualified people. We at the TU Delft Extension School want to coordinate the range of online education and match the competences of lifelong learners with professions within the energy transition sector.’  In addition, by using a living lab such as The Green Village, these educational activities are also directly linked to practical education.

Business community
Energy Switch's ambition for the period to the end of 2023 is to establish an active learning environment and to strongly improve the co-operation between existing local initiatives. The efficiency, impact and output of these initiatives will grow as a result. In addition to this, Energy Switch wishes to help at least a thousand people to find a new job. Ruud Verbeek – HR Partner at Eneco – recognises the importance of this. ‘The Netherlands needs a crash course in new energy. What we're seeing is that the job market can hardly keep up with the energy transition. We need more technicians and electricians, for example, but good IT people as well to prepare the infrastructure for new forms of energy. We as employers have an enormous task ahead of us. This is why bundling initiatives is inevitable and why an Energy Switch subagreement is so very useful.’

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