In its 2030 climate protection program, the federal government has determined quite precisely how much each sector should reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. For example, in construction it is 66 to 67 percent compared to 1990 and in the energy industry 61 to 67 percent. 62 percent.
The transformation task is huge. Can the labor market and training provide the necessary skilled workers for this in the next ten years? “If the federal government approaches this matter with as little intensity as it used to be, it will not be able to do so,” said Gerhard Zickenheiner, a member of the Green Party. His skepticism is based on the federal government’s answer to a small question from his parliamentary group. She asked for information on the need for skilled workers and training in climate protection by 2030 as a whole and for individual sectors.
In response to the Tagesspiegel Background, the Federal Ministry of Labor has remained relatively vague for a long time. He writes of a “workforce potential” between 307,000 and 427,000, which arises mainly in construction and finishing, electrical equipment, manufacturing and “trade and other services”. However, with regard to the scientific impact assessment, the Ministry leaves open whether this staffing requirement can be met. The issue was not investigated.
There are only “signs of skills shortages”
There is just as little information about the future demand for skilled workers in the energy industry during the decommissioning of nuclear and coal-fired power plants, grid restructuring and security of energy supply: “No energy transition statement can be made,” it said. The 2018 study showed “signs of a shortage of skilled workers”, and it is generally difficult to fully capture the energy-related occupational groups and the corresponding share of their energy transition.
How many young people need to be trained in climate? It is also open. Photo: imago / photothek
When asked by the Greens about the need for skilled workers in the buildings and heating sector, the ministry refers to the law on modernizing and strengthening vocational training, the law on immigration of skilled workers and the dialogue process “Roadmap Energy Efficiency 2050” of the Federal Ministry of the Environment. One of the six working groups addresses the need for skilled workers and qualifications. It has met twice so far and, according to its own information, seeks to identify key occupations in each sector, record relevant needs and also set priorities for future action.
None of this is enough for Green MEP Beate Walter-Rosenheimer. The level of ambition of the ministry among climate protection specialists seems “rather modest, sometimes completely missing”, he says of the Ministry of Labor’s response. “The lack of implementation capacity is confirmed, but there are no targeted measures, not even the intention to quantify needs quickly.”
Experts see the need for action
Her colleague from the Zickenheiner parliamentary group also fears a catastrophic combination of large resources and limited opportunities in the building sector: “Distributing large amounts of money for energy-efficient building renovation without enough skilled workers to fulfill orders means rising prices. That is the wrong way, “warns a member of Baden-Württemberg.
Experts also see an urgent need for action. German head of Danish heating and cooling technology manufacturer Ole Møller-Jensen called for an “energy and digital training offensive” last year. Without “massive investment in tailored multi-craftsman training”, there will be no climate-neutral building stock.
Even if nuclear power plants are shut down, you still need experts to dismantle them. Photo: supplies and people
Christian Noll, head of the German Energy Efficiency Initiative (Deneff), calls for better framework conditions for these investments: “Climate and efficiency targets have long been in place. However, from a political point of view, they are not yet so reliably supported that companies decide to train other skilled workers. “Young people and companies need more security to take this path. In addition, the order books of many craft businesses are currently so well filled that less incentives are needed, “still to invest in further training to be ready for the next few years.”
The Ministry of Labor also comments on the need to manage the forest with qualified workers. Zickenheimer sees this as a generational task to make forests resilient to the effects of climate change through forest transformation. “Here, the federal government is not responding at all to the need for climate change,” Zickenheiner said. “It’s not just about filling vacancies – it has to be about building more.” The ministry writes about the relevant personnel requirements: “There is no nationwide quantification of other future requirements for the forestry sector.”