Working paper

Making industrial policy work: a case study on the European Battery Alliance Academy

Efforts to address skilled-labour shortages in the battery sector can provide lessons to other areas of EU industrial policy.

Publishing date
16 January 2024
EV on charge

The transition from cars powered by the internal combustion engine to vehicles powered by electric batteries implies a fundamental shift in the types of skills required by the automotive industry. However, the industry faces significant problems in finding suitable workers. Surveys show that the lack of skilled labour is seen by firms as a problem of similar magnitude to high energy costs. Against the background a general skills shortage in the European Union, the shortage of skilled labour represents a major impediment to the development of a European battery industry.

The European Battery Alliance Academy is the main component of the EU’s strategy for tackling this problem. It develops training courses and materials to assist local training providers, and serves as a blueprint for skills policies in other industries. However, given the scale of the challenge, it represents more a symbolic than a substantive answer to the challenge.

More should be done. The limited powers of the EU in labour market policies hold up a union-wide solution. In the short term, the training programmes developed by the European Battery Alliance Academy* could more explicitly target demographics that are underserved by private training providers. In the medium term, the EU should rethink its labour market competences in order to develop a social pillar to underpin the European green transition.

*The academy was rebranded in early 2023 to become the storage component of the wider InnoEnergy Skills Institute. For clarity and ease, we refer to it as the EBA Academy in this paper.

This was produced within the project "Future of Work and Inclusive Growth in Europe" with the financial support of the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth.

About the authors

  • Conor McCaffrey

    Conor works at Bruegel as a Research assistant. He studied Philosophy, Political Science, Economics and Sociology in Trinity College Dublin for his undergraduate degree, where he specialised in Economics and studied in Tilburg University for a semester. He also holds an MA in Economics from the Vancouver School of Economics in the University of British Columbia, Canada, and his thesis considered the impact of welfare reforms on educational outcomes in the UK.

    Prior to completing his Master’s degree, Conor completed a traineeship in the European Parliament, where much of his work was focused on the Special Committee on Foreign Interference in European Democracies. He also worked as an intern in the Institute for International and European Affairs in Dublin, and held roles as both a Research Assistant and a Teaching Assistant over the course of his Master’s degree. He is particularly interested in labour and public economics.

    Conor is a native English and Irish speaker. 

  • Niclas Poitiers

    Niclas Poitiers, a German citizen, joined Bruegel as a research fellow in September 2019.

    Niclas' research interests include international trade, international macroeconomics and the digital economy.  He is working on topics on e-commerce in trade as well as European trade policy in global trade wars. Furthermore he is interested in topics on income inequality and welfare state policies.

    He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Universitat de Barcelona, a M.Sc. in economics from the Universität Bonn, and a B.Sc. from Universität Mannheim. During his Ph.D. he was a visiting scholar at Northwestern University.

    Niclas is fluent in English, Spanish, and German.

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