December 5, 2021

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“Tackling climate change? We will need technical profiles for that – Belgium

“Tackling climate change? We will need technical profiles for that – Belgium

“To ensure we develop a fossil-free future, a low-carbon society and tackle climate change, we need craftsmen and craftspeople,” wrote Hendrik Eilbrecht, CEO of ATS.

Last weekend’s climate conference confirmed it once again: Climate change is being felt everywhere and the situation is becoming increasingly dire. The recent severe weather and the numerous floods in the Ardennes are just a small taste of what lies ahead if we are late for work. Renewable energy will play an important role in the fight against climate change, but also the electrification of society and industry is indispensable. So we need a lot of green energy. In a concrete sense, this means: more solar panels and solar boilers, more wind turbines and wind farms, more electric cars and bicycles, etc.

But then another problem appears again. The problem lies partly in education. Because to ensure we develop a fossil-free future, a low-carbon society and tackle climate change, we need craftsmen and craftsmen. Good craftsmen and good craftsmen, and that’s where the shoe pinches. Because the latest numbers (2021) from the STEM screen confirm that the flow of students in STEM courses at TSO and BSO is stagnant or continues to decline.

Tackling climate change? We will need technical profiles for that.

This is bad news for our industrial sector, because what I take away from this is that fewer and fewer people with technical skills are entering the job market. This is at a time when the demand for scientific and technical professional profiles is increasing and will grow exponentially with the increase in electricity. We also encounter this problem in ATS.

Several initiatives have already been organized in Flanders to make STEM courses more attractive. But despite all these measures, the number of students choosing technical job market-oriented courses at TSO and BSO continues to decline. How is that? Are we treating the problem properly? Does our society not understand the need for these people with technical skills? I am calling for a reassessment of the artistic profession.

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In Flanders we still make a distinction between ‘low skilled’ and ‘highly educated’. This doesn’t sound very exciting for guys who want to be plumbers or electricians, because who wants to be described as “low skilled”? We want to learn more and more “higher” and forget the importance of technical training, which is pushed into the background as a result. It would be better to always talk about theoretical and practical training. After all, they are both equally important.

In search of a solution to the problem, ATS has already decided to cooperate with it SODAplus non-profit organization. Together with this organization, we want to encourage school graduates to become electrical installers with the help of vacation jobs and internships. These future technologists—perhaps a climate saver—are often offered a job before they leave school. Getting to these white crows is becoming increasingly difficult, but the SODA Project is a fantastic initiative that is already taking a step in the right direction. An initiative we need. We don’t have time to wait for other initiatives to finally start. Meanwhile, the number of STEM students at TSO and BSO is declining and the need is growing. The climate does not wait.

We will not succeed in curbing climate change without the necessary craftsmen and women. A transformation is needed. We have concrete and above all Holding hands Initiatives that help companies hire the right people.

Because if you ask me, these people are our future towards a zero carbon society. It is badly needed, yet they may not have realized it yet.

Hendrik Albrecht is the co-CEO of ATS. ATS is a multidisciplinary technology group that specializes in creating sustainable, innovative and efficient production and work environments. They do this by realizing total projects in electrical, mechatronics, heating, ventilation and air conditioning for a range of sectors.

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Last weekend’s climate conference confirmed it once again: Climate change is being felt everywhere and the situation is becoming increasingly dire. The recent severe weather and the numerous floods in the Ardennes are just a small taste of what lies ahead if we are late for work. Renewable energy will play an important role in the fight against climate change, but also the electrification of society and industry is indispensable. So we need a lot of green energy. In a concrete sense, this means: more solar panels and solar boilers, more wind turbines and wind farms, more electric cars and bicycles, etc. But then another problem appears again. The problem lies partly in education. Because to ensure we develop a fossil-free future, a low-carbon society and tackle climate change, we need craftsmen and craftsmen. Good craftsmen and good craftsmen, and that’s where the shoe pinches. Because the latest numbers (2021) from the STEM screen confirm that the flow of students in STEM courses at TSO and BSO is stagnant or continues to decline. This is bad news for our industrial sector, because what I take away from this is that fewer and fewer people with technical skills are entering the job market. This is at a time when the demand for scientific and technical professional profiles is increasing and will grow exponentially with the increase in electricity. We also encounter this problem in ATS. Several initiatives have already been organized in Flanders to make STEM courses more attractive. But despite all these measures, the number of students choosing technical job market-oriented courses at TSO and BSO continues to decline. How is that? Are we treating the problem properly? Does our society not understand the need for these people with technical skills? I am calling for a reassessment of the artistic profession. In Flanders we still make a distinction between ‘low skilled’ and ‘highly educated’. This doesn’t sound very exciting for guys who want to be plumbers or electricians, because who wants to be described as “low skilled”? We want to learn more and more “higher” and forget the importance of technical training, which is pushed into the background as a result. It would be better to always talk about theoretical and practical training. After all, they are both equally important. In the search for a solution to the problem, ATS has already decided to collaborate with the non-profit organization SODAplus. Together with this organization, we want to encourage school graduates to become electrical installers with the help of vacation jobs and internships. These future technologists—perhaps a climate saver—are often offered a job before they leave school. Getting to these white crows is becoming increasingly difficult, but the SODA Project is a fantastic initiative that is already taking a step in the right direction. An initiative we need. We don’t have time to wait for other initiatives to finally start. Meanwhile, the number of STEM students at TSO and BSO is declining and the need is growing. The climate does not wait. We will not succeed in curbing climate change without the necessary craftsmen and women. A transformation is needed. We need concrete initiatives and, above all, a process that helps companies hire the right people. Because if you ask me, these people are our future towards a zero carbon society. It is badly needed, yet they may not have realized it yet. Hendrik Albrecht is the co-CEO of ATS. ATS is a multidisciplinary technology group that specializes in creating sustainable, innovative and efficient production and work environments. They do this by realizing total projects in electrical, mechatronics, heating, ventilation and air conditioning for a range of sectors.

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