Austria’s Environmental Foundation

Last updated: 2 August 2023

As part of its efforts to reduce GHG emissions and reduce its dependency on Russian oil and gas imports, Austria’s government has prioritised rapid expansion of wind, solar, hydropower and biomass. The Federal Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology, along with the Ministry of Labor and social partners, started the Environmental Foundation as a joint project to train at least 1 000 workers in the field of environmental and climate protection within three years.

The government foresees significant job creation potential in the clean energy sector, including for specialists to install PV panels, construct wind turbines and switch to modern heating systems. However, job seekers do not always have the required qualifications to perform these jobs, raising the need for training. The foundation works in conjunction with training providers and considers regional and industry factors. The project will notably focus on unemployed people who do not have sufficient qualifications to otherwise find jobs. The programme will also place special emphasis on training and jobs for women, older people and those struggling with long-term unemployment. The foundation began operations in April 2022, closely aligning its work with the Austrian Public Employment Service.

It has a total cost of EUR 17.5 million, of which EUR 10 million will come from the government’s labour budget and EUR 7.5 million will be supplied by companies. The educational foundation follows the 2021 Job.ReAct pilot programme in Austria, which offered jobs in ecological and sustainable sectors to unemployed people, co-funded by the European Union’s European Social Fund.

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