"Driving Change: Sustainable Learning and Development Strategies Supporting Just Transition in the Automotive Industry"

Type de publication:

Conference Paper

Source:

Gerpisa colloquium, Brussels (2024)

Résumé:

Abstract:
This study explores the upskilling and reskilling of automotive workers within a sustainability-focused transformation of the industry. Utilizing Grounded Theory, the study integrates a meticulous analysis of qualitative data from semi-structured in-depth interviews with line workers from automotive as well as learning and development experts to develop a wholistic learning paradigm that emphasizes purposeful consideration, interconnectedness, and adaptive skills. This approach aligns with Just Transition principles, ensuring an equitable and sustainable evolution in the face of technological and structural changes. Key findings highlight the necessity of comprehensive training programs that align with emerging industry trends and the diverse adaptability levels of workers. Ultimately, this study advocates for a purpose-driven, wholistic educational strategy to equip employees for a sustainable future in the automotive sector.

Keywords: Automotive Industry Transformation; Just Transition Principles; Upskilling and Reskilling Strategies; Sustainable Workforce Development; Wholistic Learning Approaches; Adaptive Learning Capabilities; Technological and Structural Changes; Equitable Industrial Evolution.

Introduction
The paper presents an in-depth analysis of the transition to sustainable practices in the automotive industry and its implications for workforce development. This study is situated within the broader context of global efforts to address climate change by implementing Just Transition principles, which aim to ensure that the shift towards a greener economy is equitable and inclusive, minimizing hardships for workers and communities.

Purpose
The research question guiding this study is, "How does the transition to sustainable practices, such as electromobility, impact workforce skill requirements in the automotive sector, and what are the effectiveness and challenges of current reskilling and upskilling strategies in addressing these evolving needs?" This question is critical in understanding the specific workforce skill requirements induced by the shift towards more sustainable practices and in evaluating the alignment of reskilling and upskilling initiatives with industry needs.

Methodology
The study employs a Grounded Theory (Glaser & Strauss, 1967), (Strauss & Corbin, 1990), (Clarke., 2005), (Gasler, 2005), (Charmaz, 2011), (Ortlieb & Sieben, 2023), (Schmidt & Müller, 2021), (Risberg & Romani, 2022) and (Faaliyat et. al., 2020) integrating a meticulous qualitative data analysis from semi-structured in-depth interviews with automotive line workers and learning and development (L&D) experts as well as the principles of Empowering Research, as defined by (Cameron et. al., 1992) was used. These approaches enable the development of a learning paradigm in wholeness (Holman and Švejdarová, 2023) that emphasizes purposeful consideration, interconnectedness, and adaptive skills, aligning with Just Transition principles.

Main Results
Our key findings highlight the necessity of comprehensive training programs that are aligned with emerging industry trends and the diverse adaptability levels of workers. The study reveals significant apprehension among automotive workers regarding job security and the necessity for skill adaptation, underscoring the critical need for inclusive and purpose-driven educational strategies.

Significance
The practical implications of this research are profound for the automotive industry. By addressing the educational needs and concerns of workers, the industry can facilitate a smoother transition towards sustainability, ensuring that workers are not only equipped with the necessary skills but also feel supported throughout this transformation. Theoretically, the study contributes to the discourse on Just Transition and sustainable workforce development, offering insights into how learning and development strategies can be optimized to support an equitable shift towards a greener economy.

Conclusion
In conclusion, our research underscores the complexities of workforce development amidst the automotive industry's transformation. The findings advocate for dynamic, adaptable, and responsive reskilling and upskilling initiatives that not only equip workers with new skills but also support them through the industry's ongoing evolution, ensuring they remain competitive and prepared for future challenges. This study thus provides valuable insights into workforce adaptation in the automotive sector. It highlights areas for further research and policy development, contributing to a broader understanding of the critical role of education and training in supporting a sustainable and equitable transition in the automotive industry.

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