Jobs and society  |  Successes  |  20.05.2014

Le Mans and the Pays de la Loire, France: Jobs for workers from declining industries

A training programme in Le Mans, a city in the Pays de la Loire region in north-western France, helps unemployed youth and workers employed in declining industries, mainly the automotive industry and its supply chain, to transfer their skills to new jobs in the wind energy sector. Indeed, an impressive 95% of car production and maintenance skills can be transferred to the wind sector, and no fewer than 90% of the 150 workers trained since 2009 have found new jobs in the wind sector, whilst another 5% are continuing their training. Le Mans is the only place in France offering training for workers destined for the offshore wind industry.

The training programme is part of a broader regional strategy conducted by the Pays de la Loire Regional Council in a bid to develop a new locally based wind energy sector and thereby create jobs and business opportunities. Its goal in the onshore sector is to increase wind energy’s The training programme is part of a broader regional strategy conducted by the Pays de la Loire Regional Council in a bid to develop a new locally based wind energy sector and thereby create jobs and business opportunities. Its goal in the onshore sector is to increase wind energy’s generating capacity from its present level of 480 to 1,750 megawatts by 2020. In parallel, great efforts are being made to develop an offshore wind energy sector by stimulating expertise in engineering, research, training, the manufacture and assembly of wind turbine components, logistics, installation and maintenance. The region is committed to making the best possible use of its pool of skilled workers and drawing on their extensive experience in the automotive, aeronautical and electronics industries as well as in the regional maritime sector.

As a result, the wind energy sector in the Pays de la Loire region now employs 6,240 workers and comprises 170 local firms, including small and medium-sized enterprises, e.g. in the construction sector. Furthermore, the region’s wind energy capacity has increased by 166% since 2009, and in 2013 the Pays de la Loire ranked sixth amongst French regions in terms of its installed wind capacity. This activity in the wind sector has also mitigated the recession’s economic impact on the region, whose level of unemployment remains one of the lowest in France (9.1% in 2013). The French Green party, Europe Ecology– The Greens (EELV), has been a driving force in the green transformation under way in the Pays de la Loire region. For instance, by chairing the Regional Council’s Committee on Employment and Training it has ensured the development of relevant vocational training courses in green sectors.

 This Green success was published in the brochure "Green Jobs: Successes and Opportunities for Europe" of the Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament. 

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