As reported by Dziennik Gazeta Prawna (DGP), the energy transition is a critical endeavor worldwide, necessitating a skilled workforce adept in new technologies and infrastructures. Poland is grappling with a deficit of such expertise, with a pronounced scarcity in the installation of heat pumps and the burgeoning wind energy sector.
Heat Pump Installation Specialist Deficit:
Echoing a Europe-wide issue, Poland’s shortage of heat pump installers is acute. “In Germany, an installer often does not have an open slot for the next six months,” remarks Michał Borek, Country Director of Woltair Poland, a key player in the heat pump market. This shortage is attributed to the dramatic rise in the popularity of these devices, with sales in Poland soaring from 92.7 thousand units in the previous year to 203.3 thousand in 2022.
In response to this specialist shortfall, Woltair Poland inaugurated an academy in October to train future installers in green heating and energy technologies. Borek notes, “We started with people who had experience in photovoltaics and wanted to expand their skills or change industries. Subsequent training was dedicated to those who wanted to further educate themselves.”
Innovative Business Models and Training Programs:
The dearth of qualified personnel has prompted companies like Woltair to innovate. Borek discusses the creation of an “Uber for heat pump installers,” where “customers can order the installation of a heat pump as they would a taxi today.” This innovative approach not only simplifies the process for clients but also ensures a consistent workload for installers, potentially tripling their monthly job capacity.
Wind Energy Sector’s Call for Specialists:
The wind energy sector’s need for new talent is also pressing. The “Wind – A Mine of Opportunities” program is retraining miners for roles in wind turbine maintenance and operation. “We direct the program to workers leaving the conventional energy sector – mines, power plants, or the mining industry. This is not only about Silesia but also Konin, Bełchatów, or Lublin,” states Janusz Gajowiecki, President of the Polish Wind Energy Association (PSEW).
Attractive Opportunities and Fair Transition:
With high salaries and the promise of a stable career, the wind industry is poised to attract a workforce seeking better opportunities. “The work in the wind industry is very attractive, so I hope we can convince some of the workers to move or commute. The incentive may be high earnings, which exceed 20,000 PLN,” Gajowiecki asserts, highlighting the program’s potential for facilitating a fair and lucrative transition for technical professionals.
Challenges and Prospects:
The renewable energy sector in Poland is not without its challenges, as the country continues to see a drain of qualified workers to international markets. Gajowiecki points out that legislative hurdles have previously stalled wind energy development, but upcoming policy changes could significantly increase the domestic demand for around 100,000 additional workers in wind energy and related sectors.
The insights from DGP underline the urgency for Poland to develop a skilled workforce to support its energy transition. Through forward-thinking training initiatives and business models, the country is making strides towards addressing the employment gap and fostering a sustainable energy future. As Poland’s renewable energy infrastructure expands, the need for specialists will grow, presenting a critical juncture for the nation’s labor market and its green ambitions.