August 30, 2022
Grenoble, 30 August 2022 – Together with over a dozen specialists in technologies and industries of the future including the European Battery Alliance (EBA) supported by EIT InnoEnergy and Grenoble INP – UGA, Verkor is launching the ‘École de la Batterie’ to meet the workforce needs of the French battery sector. This academy dedicated to professions in the battery sector will open its doors in September 2022.
The French government has engaged a strategy under the France 2030 investment plan to reindustrialise the automotive sector. This will involve the electrification of vehicles, making the manufacture of electric batteries critical to the plan. Yet the French battery sector will need to train 40,000 people every year between now and the end of the decade to give France the workforce it needs to become a leader in this future industry.
To tackle this industrial challenge, and in line with its commitment to collectively build a sustainable future, Verkor formed a consortium of 11 partners to develop new training programmes for all qualification levels, from technical training certificates to PhDs. Over 70 new or adapted initial training programmes will be offered to high school and engineering school students, undergraduates and postgraduates, via institutions including Grenoble INP – UGA and HESAM Université. Job seekers and employees pursuing a career change or new opportunities in the sector can choose between some 60 modules offered by local training centres like AFPA and IMT Grenoble. All training will take place in the Auvergne Rhône-Alpes region at various training centres and members of the consortium.
‘The emerging battery industry in Europe is at the forefront of the energy transition. Its organisational structure and competitiveness will depend on the deployment of a qualified workforce throughout the value chain. To meet the challenge of skills in this sector, the European Battery Academy is working in partnership with training and industrial players in Europe to accelerate the deployment of battery training.’ – Karine Vernier, CEO EIT InnoEnergy France
Every year, 1,600 will receive job training in manufacturing, engineering, industrial engineering, electrochemistry research and development, thermal engineering, mechanical engineering, and team management. By 2030, over 8,000 people will be suitably qualified in battery professions, meeting local needs at the very least.
The consortium comprises companies, institutions, and laboratories in the battery sector, but also training centres. The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) — via the School for Energy and Health technology (INSTN) —, Grenoble INP – UGA, AFPA, the Smart Energy Systems Campus within the Académie de Grenoble, HESAM Université, IMT Grenoble, Pôle formation Isère, and Université Lyon 1, will offer initial and continued training. The Tenerrdis Cluster for the Energy Transition will handle communication, and the European Battery Alliance will provide international exposure. Completing the consortium are two industrial groups: dynamic simulation experts CORYS, and battery manufacturing experts Verkor. The ‘École de la Batterie’ also has the backing of the Strategic Committee on New Energy Systems, the Strategic Committee of the French Automotive sector (PFA), the CMQ trades and qualifications campus, and various competitive clusters. Lastly, companies like Schneider Electric and Orano, and local players including Phoenix Mobility are involved with a view to fulfilling their own requirements, and helping to structure the French battery ecosystem.
The training programmes will include innovative teaching methods based on mixed-group workshops, mentoring, and digital tools such as digital twins, dynamic simulations, and virtual reality. Technical training platforms will also be provided by Grenoble INP – UGA, AFPA, and Verkor at its Innovation Centre (VIC).
‘The shared expertise of our schools, platforms, and research labs in all the fields necessary for battery manufacturing makes this project fantastic for Grenoble INP – UGA and in line with our values and mission to support France’s reindustrialization.’ – Pierre Benech, Grenoble INP – UGA’s President
The Auvergne Rhône-Alpes region — and Grenoble in particular — provides the ideal ecosystem for the ‘École de la Batterie’. The Grenoble area is historically avant-garde when it comes to environmental issues and industrial innovation thanks to the tight-knit cooperation of its schools, laboratories, businesses, and municipalities.
This project represents a new strategic building block in the structuring regional and global training sector in the field of renewable energy. The initial amount of 20 million euros has been raised for the project, with the state contributing 13 million euros.
‘The growing importance of batteries has completely changed the needs and priorities of the industry in a short space of time. The École de la Batterie has been a core component of the Verkor project since the company’s creation, and is an operational response to this new challenge” – Gilles Moreau, Co-Founder & Chief Innovation Officer