Green energy

Green Energy

Green energy is an important development for many of the CEDCE project regions. For example, energy is an important driver for Groningen’s economy. The energy sector provides many jobs, and the province sees opportunities for new sustainable economic activities and knowledge. The Dutch Alfa-college is participating in several national projects and also in Erasmus+ and Interreg projects with energy education as topic. Their ambition is to provide all engineering/technician students with relevant green skills and renewable/sustainable energy. As for Denmark, a giant internet cable is coming in from North Sea and a lot of green energy, making the country very attractive for the industry. Big tech companies are investing in wind turbines/parks in North Sea. This is a great benefit for the green energy sector, including an increase of solar panels too.

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In Belgium, HELHa provides a module on energy/sustainability in their data centre curriculum. They are also collaborating with the first green data centre in France and with ENGIE, that is focusing on sustainable energy. Moreover, UCL is working on the mapping of relevant graduates’ green skills for the industry and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) in Denmark as they see that these skills and SDGs are becoming more important. In Finland, EKAMI’s Green Data Centre curriculum is developed for EQF level 4-5 in Green Data Centre-project (KA2). The curriculum includes different studies from building maintaining and IT/ICT and the organization is committed to the climate and environment friendly action.

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An additional important element of the CEDCE project, is diversity and inclusion. The project strongly aims to include 21st century skills trainings in the education programmes such as language, team working in intercultural teams, ethics & diversity, problem solving and conflict management skills, and more. In Denmark, Finland and the Netherlands, the schools are very eager to work on gender diversity as this is a big challenge for the data centre industry. Through a closer collaboration with the industry representatives, they hope to create more awareness of this importance and to put actions in place to tackle it with together. They are willing to share best practices in attracting female students to the study programmes and the industry in general. Specific knowledge exchanges or short (international) online events regarding the values, role, and participation of women in the data centre sector are expected to be organized. These diversity programs have the aim to attract more future students as there is still a shortage in numbers required for the industry.

The social dimension of diversity and inclusion of cultures and backgrounds within the data centre industry is becoming increasingly more evident, with companies striving for 50% local employment and other percentage being international employees who are attracted to come to the region. This is where the school’s step in; the study programs require to work on intercultural competences to prepare the future employees for this international setting. The student mobility programs part of this project proposal provide a great experience in this to the students, from which they can benefit for their future international working environment. IT Sligro from Ireland and the Dutch Alfa college, for example, support the importance of diversity programs to interest more young people in the technology industry, especially the data centre industry.