Skip To Content

Expert Exchange

Skilling, Upskilling and Reskilling for a Just Transition in Coal Regions

Germany, India,


On January 24, 2024, the Expert Exchange “Skilling, Upskilling and Reskilling in Coal Regions in Transition” gathered experts from Indian think tank the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), the German Trade Union Confederation (Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund [DGB]), and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) India to discuss needs and instruments for skilling in the energy transition process.

The event highlighted the enormous skill potential in coal regions that can be utilised in the development of new businesses and industries.

Research Insights

Gunjan Jhunjhunwala of CEEW, India, highlighted the necessity to map skills in coal regions with employment needs in growing sectors. In coal regions undergoing energy transition, a thorough analysis of existing jobs and the levels of technical and managerial skills should be conducted. To estimate the potential migration to new sectors, socio-emotional skills should also be carefully considered.

In her approach, Gunjan combines the analysis of statistical data with the results of interviews with workers concerning their self-perceived skills. She found, for example, that 70% of workers interviewed for a particular study were open to “going back to agriculture.” Gunjan also emphasised the need to map the obligations of mining companies, to reskill workers and to keep in mind the representation of any informal workforce in the negotiations on reskilling in social and stakeholder dialogue.

Marko Schmidt of the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) pointed out that in Germany, it is an enormous challenge to keep qualified workers in coal regions during coal phase-out. Due to the high level of trade union membership, wages in coal mines are among the highest in Germany. Achieving a consensus among all stakeholders on the basis for coal phase-out in Germany is also a precondition for qualification strategies. Structural change will also lead to new employment opportunities for women, who are represented to a higher extent in sectors that are knowledge driven or science based.

Ravishankar Korgal of GIZ India presented some positive experiences from the implementation of the Indo-German Programme for Vocational Education and Training (IGVET). As part of this model, Chambers of Commerce are empowered to identify the skilling needs of companies and create skilling centres that are ready to meet these needs. This model can be transferred to coal regions. In cooperation with businesses, training opportunities can be developed that meet the demand of growing sectors.

Key takeaways from all speakers

  • Identifying existing qualifications in coal regions must be the starting point. There are high qualification levels in coal regions.
  • Qualification needs and gap analysis pave the way for a qualification strategy.
  • In cooperation with the private sector, skilling opportunities can be effectively developed.
  • Consensus for coal phase-out and a joint vision for the region lay the foundation for development.


Gunjan Jhunjhunwala (she/her), Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), Delhi, India
Marko Schmidt, (he/him) REVIERWENDE, DGB, Cottbus, Germany
Ravishankar Korgal, (he/him) GIZ, Indo-German Programme for Vocational Education and Training

See the full presentation here:

Watch the full recording here:

Read more from our Expert Exchange series: Gendering the debate: Just energy transition for all

Stay Informed and Engaged

Subscribe to the Just Energy Transition in Coal Regions Knowledge Hub Newsletter

Receive updates on just energy transition news, insights, knowledge, and events directly in your inbox.

Subscribe Now