European Union has allocated nearly €4 million to accelerate the development of hydrogen technologies education. Tartu Vocational College and TalTech creating training programmes to train hundreds of thousands of specialists across Europe.

According to Sigrid Ester Tani, VOCO project leader, the European Union is determined to significantly increase the share of hydrogen in its energy consumption as a substitute for oil and gas. “This means that there will be a need for hundreds of thousands of hydrogen technology specialists across Europe, and this project will support the training of these specialists,” said Tani.

“First, we will identify the skills needed by businesses in Estonia and across Europe. Then we will draw up training programmes that vocational training centres and higher education institutions across Europe will follow. VOCO in Tartu will become one of Europe’s Meccas of hydrogen technology educators, we will train hundreds of teachers from different countries, who in turn will train more and more specialists with the necessary skills over the years,” explained Tani.

Arne Küüt, head of VOCO’s automotive department, said that hydrogen technology is important because hydrogen is much more flexible than other energy sources. “Hydrogen can be used as an energy storage or as a fuel itself. By 2050 at the latest, the European Union will be free of oil dependency and virtually all cars, buses and trucks will be carbon neutral. But because of the capacity constraints of the electricity grid, not everything will be able to run on electricity. The plan is to increase the share of hydrogen in Europe’s energy from the current two percent to 13-14 percent. This will also require a steady flow of new specialists in Estonia to introduce the new technology,” explained Küüt.

GreenSkills4H2 – The European Hydrogen Skills Alliance project is funded by the Erasmus+ Alliances for Innovation fund and involves VOCO, TalTech, as well as 33 other organisations across Europe. VOCO is co-leading the design of vocational education and training curricula, while TalTech is carrying out skills and occupational mapping and creating continuing education programmes.

There are nine centres of excellence for hydrogen learning across Europe, which act as both business advisors and workforce trainers. In the Baltic States and the Finnish region, the centre of excellence is VOCO in Tartu, which is also the only vocational training institution among the centres of excellence, alongside the Danish University of Technology, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and other higher education institutions.

In addition to developing curricula and training lecturers, VOCO will from autumn 2026 permanently train hydrogen technology specialists to work in Estonian companies.