In the heart of Europe’s green transition, France is poised to become a leader in the hydrogen sector. However, to fully realize this potential, the nation must address significant labor shortages and invest in reskilling its workforce.
Philippe Boucly, President of France Hydrogène, emphasizes the nation’s strengths and the role of hydrogen in its future:
“Hydrogen will contribute to decarbonizing and reindustrializing France, which has strengths such as the decarbonized electric mix and companies throughout the value chain. We now need to work on skills and training challenges.”
According to a recent report by industry body France Hydrogene, the French hydrogen sector will require tens of thousands of both general and specialist workers within this decade. Specific training initiatives are crucial to bridge the existing experience gaps and ensure that the industry has the skilled workforce it needs to thrive.
Julien Besançon from Pôle Emploi highlights the importance of supporting the hydrogen sector’s growth:
“Pôle Emploi has committed to the project to support the sector in its development. We are noticing significant tensions not only in the hydrogen sector but also in the industry: 300,000 recruitment needs have been expressed.”
This sentiment is echoed in the DEF’Hy project, which highlights the vast employment opportunities within the hydrogen industry. By 2030, France Hydrogène estimates that the sector will create around 100,000 direct and indirect jobs spanning over 80 professions. However, industry stakeholders have already reported recruitment challenges. Without proactive measures, these issues could escalate, potentially hindering the sector’s growth.
Key findings from the DEF’Hy study include:
- Identification of core competencies essential for the hydrogen sector’s growth, focusing on safety, regulations, and H2 systems.
- Analysis of employment market dynamics, highlighting potential bottlenecks and suggesting career pathways from declining sectors to those in demand.
- A comprehensive overview of current training programs related to the hydrogen industry and recommendations to enhance and promote these offerings.
The DEF’Hy project, backed by prominent employment and training entities such as AFPA, EIT Innoenergy, Pôle emploi, RCO-Le Réseau des Carif-Oref, Adecco Digital France, and France Hydrogène, aims to strengthen the foundational understanding of the strategic challenges related to skills, professions, employment, and training in the hydrogen sector. Their collective goal is to ensure that the industry meets its value creation and employment objectives across regions.
In conclusion, as France steers towards a low-carbon future, the hydrogen sector presents a golden opportunity. However, to harness its full potential, a concerted effort in addressing labor shortages and investing in reskilling initiatives is imperative. The nation’s commitment to a green transition, coupled with strategic investments in human capital, will undoubtedly pave the way for a sustainable and prosperous future.