Clean Tech Traning
A big part of the burgeoning cleantech market is education, as millions of people begin to ponder the process of bringing themselves up to speed on the basics of wind turbines, solar panels, EV charging infrastructure, etc.
Few years ago, there were a mere handful of educational and training programs available for those interested in clean tech, primarily in advanced-degree university programs. Today, there are hundreds, if not thousands, with new ones popping up every day as a result of government funds flowing to colleges and universities to fund green jobs training.
A competitive energy workforce requires much more than technicians and building retrofitters. Scientists, engineers, high-tech entrepreneurs, and advanced manufacturers will play a critical role, just as they have in strategic sectors like infotech, aerospace, and biotech.
The energy workforce deficit and education gap will substantially limit the nation's ability to lead the clean-tech industry and accelerate clean energy development.
Also a growing consensus suggests that clean tech will be one of our generation's largest growth sectors. The global clean-tech market is expected to surpass $1 trillion in value within the next few years, and a perfect storm of factors - from the inevitability of a carbon-constrained world, to skyrocketing global energy demand, to long-term oil price hikes - will drive global demand for clean-energy technologies.
How is it solved?
Nations are recognizing this painpoint and starting to implement a national strategy for energy leadership - including smart investments to educate the energy generation.
The training can be taken by anyone – from a cleantech enthusiast to industry professionals. The training can be structured with technical programs to equip individuals to enter into emerging clean tech industries.
A few examples of what specific industrialists would gain through such trainings is listed below:
- Business executives and professionals: to re-engineer their company’s product development, manufacturing process and expand market share.
- Scientists or engineers: to become an expert and a trainer in advanced solar thin film, nanotech batteries.
- Apprentices: qualified candidates are encouraged to apply for the Apprentice Program with paid on-the-job training.
- Displaced workers with a background in technology: to get new skills for a career in a high growth industry.
These programs are targeted to candidates at every level of experience, from those with a GED to engineering and chemistry graduates looking to develop next generation clean tech technologies.
Those already in the industry can gain new insight and skills by taking part in the many weekend seminars, extended learning courses, conferences and events.
- Provides an excellent preparation for an entry-level job or career change in what many, despite the ongoing downturn in the economy, expect to be fast-growing industries.
- And most provide an opportunity to network—which can be as valuable a takeaway as the skills—with professors, students, and those currently employed within the cleantech sector.
- Some clean tech training program won’t guarantee you a job in the industry, but will help you stand out—and deliver marketable skills.
How far is the industry from commercialization?
While there is much relevant research taking place within the various departments of universities around the world, engineering faculties that focus exclusively on renewable energy and low carbon technologies are few and far between. Countries that already generate a high percentage of their energy requirements from renewable sources are leading the way in terms of renewable energy engineering education. In Iceland, for example, where 77% of primary energy comes from renewable sources, the School for Renewable Energy Science (RES) was established in 2006 in partnership with two Icelandic universities. RES offers Masters degrees in Renewable Energy Science with five optional specialist subjects of study: geothermal energy; fuel cell systems and hydrogen; biofuels and bioenergy; energy systems; and hydropower.
The Cleantech Institute based out of California, USA, offers various training programs to people from various disciplines.
In New Zealand, the geothermal industry has long benefited from the geothermal training and research carried out at a specialist faculty at the University of Auckland. The Geothermal Institute was the centre of excellence in geothermal science and technology in New Zealand since its founding in 1978 until 2005, when it was absorbed into Auckland’s newly-created Institute of Earth Science and Engineering.
Both Iceland and New Zealand are small countries in terms of economy and population, making the task of leveraging educational resources to improve energy infrastructure more straightforward than it will be for nations with large populations like the US – or even the UK.
Top cleantech universities in the US for 2010
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