Title Towards a European qualification for service and maintenance in the solar energy sector (SolTec)
Project Number 503219-Leonardo-2009-LLP -2009-2181
Project Type Development of Innovation
Country EU-Centralised Projects
Marketing Text Since the EU agreed to raise the EU's share of renewable energies to 20% by 2020, there appear new challenges for branches like the solar sector. Here, the skills development is still national in scope and unaligned to the European market. This poses barriers to achieving the European Union's targets. Common VET-qualifications for electricians and the few additionally developed offers on a locally or nationally level are not sufficient in order to meet the needs for a systematic approach in VET for the growing solar sector. The project SolTec aims to close this gap, intents to deliver a European qualification standard, improves the quality of the VET-system by incorporating the common European tools, promotes the transparency and recognition of competences and therefore the workers mobility.
Summary Since the EU agreed to raise the EU's share of renewable energies to 20% by 2020, there appear especially new challenges for branches like the solar sector. But here, the skills development is still national in scope and unaligned to the European market. This poses barriers to achieving the European Union's targets and the objectives of the LLL-program to bolster cross-border mobility of solar workers. In addition, researches of the partners show, that there is the highest need for new VET-contents in service and maintenance of photovoltaic installations (e. g. monitoring of installations, prevention of errors, maintenance of solar modules, technical tuning, etc). Common VET-qualifications for electricians and the few additionally developed offers on a locally or nationally level are not sufficient in order to meet the needs for a systematic approach in VET for the growing solar sector. The project SolTec aims to close this gap, intents to deliver a European qualification standard, improves the quality of the VET-system by incorporating the common European tools (learning outcomes, EQF, etc.), promotes the transparency and recognition of competences and (as a consequence of this) the workers mobility. It boosts the skills capital of the solar energy sector and sets up an industry-based skills network in order to promote the further need-oriented skills-development. This fosters the involvement of different stakeholders in making VET more responsive to the needs of the solar labour market. The partner consortium includes ten partners from six European countries. With this composure of partner consortium it is especially intended to integrate companies, VET-organisations and trade unions from the main producer countries of solar technologies (Germany) with the main user countries (Italy, Spain, Portugal) and enlarge this with the specific needs of the East European countries (Romania, Poland).
SolTec is driven by clearly defined but ambitious objectives. Like in other sectors of the renewable energy, the solar energy sector mainly in Germany and Spain grew rapidly. The companies of this sector concentrated on technological development and delivery to market.
With few notable exceptions skills development lags behind the economic development of the sector. Today, the industry's key players now operate on a trans-national marketplace that cannot be regulated by single national market frameworks. Hence the need for agreed European qualification standards has become acute. The SolTec initiative will support the employability of solar workers and the competitiveness of the European solar labour market by improving the vocational education and training in the field of service and maintenance.
Despite the emergence of a truly European market regulations on the qualification of service and maintenance staff are still local and national in scope and unaligned to the European market. Thereby it poses administrative barriers to achieving the European Union's targets for the promotion of renewable energies and the targets of the LLL-program to bolster cross-border mobility of solar workers.
The SolTec partners seeks to enrol companies and sector stakeholders in the development of a European Qualification Profile fitting for the assignments of service and maintenance, to develop an appropriate modularized curriculum and a European pilot training course to meet these requirements. Existing expertise from national pioneer initiatives will feed the process. Finally, the project's full circle will include Europe-wide recognition and adoption of the established minimum standards via the extension of the network.
Currently unaligned national and regional qualification requirements demand case-by-case solutions. These are costly, cause artificial delays and reduce cooperation potential.
SolTec is driven by three key objectives:
- Deliver a European qualification standard for operational skills in the solar energy sector
- Boost the skills capital of the solar energy sector
- Set up an industry-based skills network for the solar energy sector
Recognition, transparency, certification
Open and distance learning
Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities
Electricity, Gas, Steam and Air Conditioning Supply
Other Service Activities
program or curricula
transparency and certification
open and distance learning
description of new occupation profiles
Product information The analysis of the European solar energy market shows that the main technical components of the installations are produced in Germany, whereas the main users are the Southern European countries. Therefore, there is a high need for exchange of information and experience, about technical innovation, but especially about the necessary skills development of the staff. The project builds a platform for companies, VET-institutions and employees of different European countries and offers the possibility for permanent adaptations and improvements, it improves the transparency and recognition, it provides the basis to enhance the mobility of workers between the countries. The results of the project are e.g. needs analysis, competence profile, overview of national certificates, curriculum for the qualification, a training guide and training material and a multinational glossary. They will be exploitable by other countries because the European module is in English and there are provisions for the different language versions (German, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese) of the website. International cooperation will be ensured by the different roles the partners have in the project. Cultural differences are addressed in the development of the outputs (needs analysis, structure of the module: assignment to national references (NQF) and subsuming the learning outcomes into the EQF-level, piloting one common European course with participants of the four countries).