Design and imagination. Vision and goals. To build the new world, we need to do things that have never been done before: the engineers of tomorrow are humanists capable of reading complexity and solving new problems with novel approaches, applying the most successful innovations with critical thinking and a multidimensional vision.

Sustainable development needs to be led by one and all, and the new generations have a key role to play. It is to them that the future and the present belong, as well as the expertise of those who currently preside over the issues of the ecological transition today, in order to bridge the gap between innovation and tradition: with this goal, Fondazione MAIRE is making the Group's historical, technical and cultural identity available to train the humanist engineers of tomorrow.

«We will help new generations go beyond scientific expertise, bringing the human element and a focus on sustainability together, as an essential integration of their technical training», explains Ilaria Catastini, General Manager of the Fondazione MAIRE. A paradigm shift that is not only necessary, but strategic: «To meet the challenges posed by the 2050 decarbonization targets and international commitments, we will need technical experts and graduates who will put their skills and positions at the service of the ecological transition» Catastini adds.

Working in synergy to strengthen skills means contributing to the growth of students who are aware of and sensitive to the complex phenomena of the future, making them key figures for the world: as seen in the annual GreenItaly 2021 report by the Symbola Foundation, 38 % of the professional job requirements will require green skills with an estimated 1.3-1.4 million people employed in the period between 2021-2025. To meet demand and seize this valuable opportunity, we need to invest in training now: the green jobs of the future will not only involve specialized technicians, but also figures who are more strictly managerial, capable of enhancing resources and projects under the banner of sustainability and environmental protection. From energy engineers to environmental computer scientists, from bio bricklayers to eco-designers, from organic farmers to recyclers, from installers of more efficient electrical grids to environmental quality certification officers: with 3.1 million people employed in the sector in 2020, Italy is at the forefront of the ecological transition, and it is important that we continue to disseminate training opportunities to develop cross-disciplinary profiles on sustainability and energy transition issues. An area, Catastini emphasizes, where timely and forward-looking action is crucial: «There is a shortage of expertise on energy transition issues, in Europe and around the world: this is why it is becoming an increasing priority to orient and train the professionals of the future who will have to make the ecological transition a reality, meeting the deadlines that have been imposed».

Sustainable development: in synergy with schools and universities

Orientation and training initiatives, in flexible formats, dedicated to both high school and college students: the Fondazione MAIRE brings humanistic engineering into the classroom, promoting supplementary and orientation courses for technical college and high school students, along with lectures for undergraduates and doctoral students on vertical topics related to innovation for the green transition.

The "tool-box" of tomorrow's professionals is embodied by a new mindset, one in which a focus on innovation and technology moves in concert with an awareness of social issues and a profound regard for the international economic and political landscape: «We are asking young men and women to get involved in different fields and pay attention to the aspect of communication: knowing how to communicate today is essential. Technical know-how is not enough».

Orientation, training, and outreach distinguish the endeavors of the Fondazione MAIRE, which strongly believes that the creation of learning opportunities for environmental sustainability is essential for the present and future of our country. «Addressing the environmental issues also presents us with an extraordinary opportunity to discover new talents and innovations – Catastini reiterates: this has been demonstrated by our participation in the Didacta Italia Fair, an unmissable event where the world of education meets the world of business, creating the kind of interchange necessary to make the ecological transition a real opportunity in the future of so many young people».

2023 is the European Year of Skills, and they are the driving force for building truly sustainable development: «Building the necessary expertise will be one of the cornerstones of Europe's Green Industrial Plan, announced by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at the World Economic Forum in Davos – Catastini explains – so we need timely strategic action to help Europeans fully participate in the green transition of both the economy and our society, rather than just reacting to it. Environmental learning is part of that strategic action».

Promoting STEM disciplines

An initiative that leaves no one behind and values diverse skill sets, capable of making a difference together: this is what the project called 5 steps for a woman to become an engineer, carried out by the Foundation in Italy together with ENEA (National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development), aims to do, responding to the goal of promoting STEM disciplines as a tool for gender equality on the energy transition path.

By chronicling what people do and how they work at a leading engineering company specializing in the energy transition, the initiative aims to attract young female students toward the energy efficiency sector with a focus on technical engineering roles. How does the initiative accomplish this? «By offering each person's story and educational background, answering questions and fueling curiosity» Catastini explains.

This is a goal that would not only benefit from the transversal nature of green skills, but also from the results in this field: according to the Fourth Report on Women's Entrepreneurship carried out by Unioncamere, in scientific and technical professional activities there is a +17.4% increase in the presence of women. Over the past 5 years, businesses led by women in the sector have grown at a very fast pace, registering three times the increase of those led by men.

Equal opportunity, inclusion and equality. The future is all about diversity as a resource; it is made up of people – regardless of gender, background, race or religion – with multidisciplinary skills, flexible, visionary, and capable of solving complex problems such as those related to the sustainability of our life on the planet using science and creativity, putting human beings at the center of it all.