On Wednesday, 24 May 2023, the EUKI web seminar took place as the final event of our GreenTecLab (GTL) project.
The European Climate Initiative (EUKI) is an initiative of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) to strengthen cooperation in the EU in the further development and implementation of its climate policy. EUKI supports inner-European dialogue, the exchange of good practice, awareness raising, and knowledge transfer.
In this framework, our GTL project was funded. In the alliance of partners from Spain Greece and Slovakia we have created support structures for start-ups and entrepreneurship in the green economy. Our Vision was that, startups can significantly contribute to climate protection and sustainability in Europe and so to the ecological, social, cultural and economic transformation of societies. That is why we have made it our goal to support young people in urban but especially in rural regions (where access to innovational infrastructure is difficult) in developing green business ideas. And, together with our partners, we created a European network for a positive mindset towards eco-entrepreneurship and supported more than 50 green start-up initiatives in 7 GTLS.
With GTL, we have been successful in providing important impulses for the systematic promotion of ecologically oriented project initiatives and for raising awareness of their relevance in European countries. GTL has highlighted the need for inter- and transdisciplinary ideas fueled by an active international exchange of knowledge in terms of technology, but also social innovation, to prepare local economies for a successful green transition. But it also became evident that there is a significant shortage of professionally qualified specialists in European societies who can bring these technologies to market and operate them, which in turn inhibits innovation capacity and transition progress.
The web seminar featured an interesting penal discussion on how vocational education and training (VET) expertise provides the foundation to enable local economies to unlock the potential of new green technologies and contribute to climate goals.
In the Penal discussion, moderated by Silke Steinberg (FIAP e.V.) the findings of the GTL project were underlined: To support local economies for a successful transition, one needs inter- and trans-disciplinary ideas fed by an active (international) knowledge exchange in terms of technology, but also social innovation. Rural regions often lack access to innovation. To tackle this, it is important that all key actors from science, practice and policy work closely together and jointly develop an ecosystem that supports access to innovation and is, above all, inclusive. To keep up with the pace of innovation in green technologies, which has increased dramatically under the pressure of climate change, skilled workers are the key to success. Only in European cooperation can this be addressed, as there is consensus that these are not country-specific problems and that the expertise of vocational education and training provides the basis for empowering local economies to achieve climate goals.
We would like to thank our penalists from Slovakia (Norbert Kurilla, Green Transition Advisor to the President at Office of the President of the Slovak Republic ), from Greece (Konstantinos Aravossis, UNESCO Chair on Green Innovation, TU Athens and State Secretary in the Ministry of Environment & Nassia Theodoridou, General Directorate of VET at DYPA, Greek Labor Agency) as well as our penalists from Spain (Antonio Blanco, CEO/General Manager Keyter International & José Expósito, Vocational school at Lucena).
We would also like to thank EUKI (especially Elsa Benhöfer and Constance Ulrich) for the great organization and support of the web seminar and the opportunity to raise awareness of this important issue in the EUKI Community.
Together with our partners we will continue to work on these topic to support the green transition in Europe.