Romania aims to rapidly develop the battery industry by committing to the training and retraining of 20,000 workers

Source: press release, 6 June 2022

The European Battery Alliance Academy – a benchmark programme designed to upskill the workforce across the European battery value chain
The European Battery Alliance Academy – a benchmark programme designed to upskill the workforce across the European battery value chain (illustration: EBA)

Romania, through the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Education, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with EIT InnoEnergy, the innovation engine for sustainable energy supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), an institution of the European Union. The aim is to accelerate Romania’s involvement in the European battery value chain through several initiatives coordinated by EIT InnoEnergy.

Romania and EIT InnoEnergy will work together to develop and implement a national battery strategy, perfectly aligned to the needs and opportunities of the European value chain. It will establish and activate the Romanian battery ecosystem, promoting its accelerated development.

To overcome the existing skills gap in the battery sector, the MoU outlines a commitment to create a new training and education network that will upskill or retrain around 20,000 people in this field over the next 4 years. The European Battery Alliance Academy (EBA) – a benchmark programme designed to upskill the workforce across the European battery value chain – will be launched in Romania, with a particular focus on regions benefiting from the European Fund for a Just Transition (Dolj, Gorj, Mureș, Hunedoara, Prahova and Galați). In addition, partnerships will be formed with several Romanian universities to introduce new bachelor and master programmes for students.

Diego Pavía, CEO of EIT InnoEnergy, says, “By 2025, battery related projects will create three to four million direct and indirect jobs, which means that around 800,000 workers in Europe will need to be retrained and upgraded with battery-specific expertise. This will require a considerable effort and I am delighted that the EBA Academy has been successful in meeting the training needs in countries such as France, Spain, Hungary and now Romania. To create a more sustainable world, while improving European energy security, we need to build the capacity, skills and investment in innovation to make this happen.”

Nicolae Ciucă, Prime Minister says, “We aim to be more future-oriented, including in projects related to the circular economy that can attract investment and generate new jobs. We want to attract investments of at least EUR 2 billion in the battery sector in the next 5 years. Today’s signing of this agreement with EIT InnoEnergy is a step in this direction. We want to equip the battery workforce to attract investment more easily. The signed agreement and our entry into the European Battery Alliance Academy (EBA) is also an important opportunity for some universities such as Petroșani, Pitești, Craiova or Galați to use a European training curriculum with the support of EIT InnoEnergy.”

The Memorandum of Understanding will also promote the use of the business investment platform, a unique platform for key stakeholders to accelerate battery projects.

“This partnership is the result of the consistency with which we have, over the last 6 months, conveyed the message of developing production capacities in Romania, while developing research, innovation, training and retraining. Europe is increasing the speed of decision-making and partnerships, and Romania will not stand aside and will actively participate in the round table of strong European countries. We need support in a balanced partnership based on common values and interests. This is how we will highlight Romania on the economic map in Europe,” says Minister of Economy Florin Spătaru.

“The Educated Romania project aims to develop the education system by improving the relevance, accessibility, flexibility, attractiveness and quality of education and training programmes, thus contributing to increased competitiveness, economic and social cohesion, facilitating the professional and personal development of citizens.”

Every year, new study and training programmes are introduced in Romania, focusing on the requirements of the job market. The memorandum supports this transformative process, highlighting the important role of education in supporting economic development.

Batteries are a strategic part of Europe’s digital and green transition and a key enabling technology for the competitiveness of the automotive sector. Supported by the European Commission and the European Investment Bank, the European Battery Alliance (EBA) brings together national authorities of EU Member States, regions, industry research institutes and other stakeholders in the battery value chain.

“The Ministry of Education will support initiatives to develop relevant curricula in the field of batteries and energy storage through universities and vocational/dual vocational education establishments. The Ministry of Education will also be the contact point for the European Battery Academy,” says Education Minister Sorin Câmpeanu.

As all parties are committed to the successful implementation of the Romanian battery strategy, a working group appointed by the Romanian Government will be activated to work with institutional stakeholders, while EIT InnoEnergy will support with resources, knowledge sharing and best practices learned from its rich history in promoting sustainable innovation across Europe.