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Green transition requires skilled engineers and collaboration across the Nordics

14.9.2022
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News article

According to ANE’s recent report, there is a need for a diverse set of engineering skills in the Nordics to achieve the green transition. Each Nordic country has a slightly different focus on green technologies and therefore different skill requirements as well. The report also identifies a need to harmonize the Nordic market.

What are the future competencies of engineers in the green transition? A recent report from the Association of Nordic Engineers ANE titled “Competences for a Sustainable Future” aims to answer this question. The purpose of the report is to describe identifiable changes in the future skill and workforce requirements for engineers in selected climate technology sectors across the Nordics and identify opportunities for Nordic collaboration.

Each country has their own emphasis on green technologies

The report examined the state of seven climate technologies and their skill requirements in each of the five Nordic countries: Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, and Denmark.

The skill requirements vary based on the emphasis on different technologies in each country. Some technologies are quite universal, such as the rise of Power-to-X (PtX) in all countries. Differences are found for example in geothermal energy, which is prominent in Iceland but not vastly explored in other countries. Explore the differences in this table.

How to improve the skills in the Nordics?

The report points out six recommendations to ensure that Nordic engineers have the necessary skills to drive the development of climate technologies and support the sustainable transition across the Nordics:

  1. Analyse the sector skill demand and align political incentives with the demands of the market

There should be a stronger focus on securing the competences and skills needed for climate technology in the Nordics. There is also a need for large-scale mapping of the skill demands for the green technology sectors.

  1. Adapt the educational system

Higher Education Institutions should benefit from public financial support to revaluate and adapt the educational programmes to secure the need of specialists matching the skill demands. Furthermore, universities need to co-operate on bridging the educational gaps as well as identifying where the skills are needed and allow for a greater flow of talent between countries.

  1. Invest in lifelong learning within green technologies

Investing in education to upskill the current engineering pool will help further the transition towards green solutions. Employers should also identify upskilling needs and provide both space and time for competence development.

  1. Use the green agenda to recruit and retain a diverse pool of young people studying engineering

The green transition provides an opportunity to motivate young people to become engineers. The Higher Education Institutions should adapt their programmes to ensure the retention of students and provision of diverse pool of talent, including, but not limited to, gender.  

  1. Incentivise and increase knowledge sharing and collaboration

For the Nordic region to remain and become increasingly competitive within climate technology, there is a need for more substantial knowledge sharing and collaboration across organisations, sectors, and countries.

  1. Harmonise climate tech legislation in the Nordics to create a broader market

The Nordic countries are small markets individually, but together they make up a market of almost 30 million people. Harmonising regulation for climate tech in the Nordics would help to scale up businesses in the Nordic market, which would then boost businesses in the global market.

Read more about the report on ANE's website

Technology Finland Sweden Norway Iceland Denmark Required technical skills
Power-to-X On the rise On the rise On the rise On the rise On the rise Chemical engineering, understanding PtX's entire value chain
Wind power On the rise Currently a forerunner On the rise   Currently a forerunner, plans for a rapid expansion Various engineering competencies, software engineering
Batteries Increasing Increasing, establishment of Northvolt drives the development of production Increasing     Mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, electrochemical engineering, electrical engineering, automation engineering
Hydrogen Increasing, hydrogen is a key solution to achieve carbon neutrality target On the rise On the rise Increasing due to green geothermal energy On the rise Basic engineering skills (physics, chemistry, mathematics), production technology, process engineering, hydrogen storage and handling, knowledge of safety
Biomass-based energy Not increasing due to carbon sink crash Increasing Increasing Increasing Increasing Technical and physical engineering, biochemical engineering
Geothermal energy Some interest Some interest Some interest Significant energy source, some increase is expected Some interest Future needs unclear
Carbon capture and storage / utilization Increasing, solution to achieving negative emission goals Increasing, solution to achieving negative emission goals Forerunner Increasing, a new method developed (Carbfix)   Automation, electrical engineering, operational chemistry, programming knowledge, test engineering

How was the research conducted?

The basis of the results presented in the report are interviews with representatives from academia and industry in all five Nordic countries accompanied with a desktop research.