Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN21 Proceedings
Publication year: 2021
Pages: 310-317
ISBN: 978-84-09-31267-2
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2021.0105
Conference name: 13th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-6 July, 2021
Location: Online Conference
For the year 2030 a radical change in the economy is expected that affects the way of manufacturing and consuming. It will go from a linear economy to a circular one where it is assumed that 1,500,000 jobs will have been generated in the territory of the European Union. Many of these jobs will require new knowledge and skills in the field of sustainability. Universities must equip their students with the key competencies to be agents of change. These competencies cover lines related to energy efficiency, the reuse of recovered materials, renewable energies and the lengthening of the useful life of products, to give a few examples. This paper presents the experience carried out at the Polytechnic University of Madrid to focus this training towards the 2030 horizon, under three scenarios: The first is the basic one, which would affect the economy in a mild way, with changes in business management models, but not in all sectors; the second is a moderately circular scenario, with the application of the European “package” and a slight but generalized sectoral transformation; the third involves a radical change in the way we produce and consume through regulatory obligations and short time intervals, involving all sectors, including public administrations. Given these three possible scenarios, it is concluded that the profiles that are supposed to be most in demand are: professionals in science and engineering; urban mining, construction, manufacturing and sustainable mobility; production and management of specialized services and data processing; managers of companies in circular economy and customer service. In this study, it is estimated that some 450,000 jobs will be generated in Spain between now and 2030. The key sectors that would be affected and that have been detected in the study are: food with 25% of these jobs, energy and transport (renewable generation and energy efficiency), with another 25%; materials (waste and its recovery) 50%. These data are what will help to configure the university training offer to promote the employability of the so-called "agents of change". As a conclusion, it is obtained that higher education is in a unique position to achieve these changes. Through teaching, applied research, and student-led initiatives (fostering entrepreneurship), scalable and replicable solutions can be found that deliver medium and long-term results and impacts. Students moving through higher education systems are a key group of "catalysts" who can be mobilized to learn, think, and act differently in order to impact the linear system and act as agents of change. To do this, they must be able to transfer and assimilate new technologies, including digital ones, and circular production modes that help make sustainable decisions and, therefore, their future employability.
higher education, employability, skills, circular economy