Why sustainability depends on upskilling and empowering people, starting with younger generations

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Technology provides the means to innovate for good. From my student years in science and engineering, to joining the World Economic Forum Youth leadership movement and spending my early career days in research and scientific institutes, I’ve been guided by programs and people who helped me find my purpose in action. I continue to pursue that purpose with corporate energy leaders such as Schneider Electric, and before that, at Engie.

Let’s talk numbers

According to the United Nations, there are more than 1.8 billion people aged between 10 and 24 years. They account  for 1 in 6 people worldwide, and almost 90% of them live in developing countries.

What does this mean? It means it’s critical to provide relevant and upgradable skills to young people, equipping them to become the next generation of leaders and to face the challenges of the future. And this is about science, technology, engineering, mathematics, as well as about soft skills like problem-solving, agility, and an embrace of environmental concerns and social justice.

Why is all this important now?

For starters, we’re not on track. The International Energy Agency estimates that carbon emissions will drop by 4-5 gigatons per year, based on the Announced Pledge Scenario (APS). They need to drop at least 3 times as much per year if we’re to stay within the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 C above pre-industrial times.

Moreover, according to the IEA, the energy sector workforce has 76% fewer women than men, and a low proportion of them work in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) roles.

The energy transition presents an opportunity to provide technical and leadership training to women – especially young women who are currently studying – to be ready for job opportunities that will be created in the future.

We’re running out of time. We must act now and prepare for the future. Not only by committing ourselves, but also by enabling the next generation to act.

There are many ways to act – and Schneider Electric is committed to helping

80% of all global CO2 emissions – and growing – are energy-related. We need to upskill and enable everyone – young people, especially, to take action.


Clearly, it’s critical to upskill and prepare all generations for the jobs of tomorrow.

Schneider Electric’s purpose is to bridge progress and sustainability for all, and we’re taking action by setting measurable and monitored targets. We aim to train 1 million people in energy management and industrial automation by 2025, and to double hiring opportunities for young interns, trainees, and graduates.

To ensure a gender-inclusive approach, we’re committed to hiring 50% women, to having 40% women in front-line management, and 30% women in leadership teams – and to providing 50 million people with access to green electricity by 2025.

In Brazil, for example, we partner with, Associação Feminina de Estudos Sociais e Universitários (AFESU), to offer vocational training in the energy sector to young women, as well as access to jobs and practical experience in the industy.

More recently, we announced a partnership with Serviçio Nacional de Aprendizagem Industrial (SENAI),  a local vocational school, to support professional training courses in 30 schools around the country. The goal is to train 74,000 people in five years in electricity installation and systems maintenance.

In India, we’ve already trained over 200,000 young people, more than 2200 trainers and supported over 1,100 young entrepreneurs since 2009 as energy professionals, to help them gain access to employment opportunities or start their own business.

In Kenya and South Africa, our advisory program encourages young girls to pursue careers in STEM subjects, because women have a unique role to play in the energy transition and in closing the digital skills gap in those countries.

And in France, the Schneider Electric School upskills and encourages young people to be part of a more electric and digital world, not only in theory, but also in practice.

How can you contribute?

Training and upskilling people of all ages and from all walks of life, enabling women to participate and developing the next generation of leaders – none of this is optional, whether you’re a company or an individual. Meaningful corporate citizenship should be part of your entire corporate fabric, and not come in the form of standalone projects.

We must understand and help raise awareness on the positive correlation between environmental and human well-being, prosperity, and resilience.

As a woman in tech, I am committed to developing, empowering, and promoting young people and women in our STEM industry through various ways, including mentoring.

The young people of today will be a critical part of the answer.

Find out more here.

🌎 Dive in a world of change

Our recent Instagram Live was all about celebrating the next generation, turning up the volume on raising awareness and empowering them for a sustainable future! 

In under 20 minutes we take you all around the world to visit some of our Schneider colleagues and chat to them about how they’re making a difference through their career. 

If you’re interested in helping us shape a brighter future, head to our careers page for more information.

*This post was originally published on July 17, 2023 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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