Germany is looking to combat the shortage of workers
Germany is launching an initiative to combat the shortage of skilled workers by creating a training centre for battery specialists in Itzehoe.
Schleswig-Holstein's west coast is set to become a battery production hub after a funding decision by German Minister of Economics Robert Habeck gave the go-ahead for the creation of a training centre for battery specialists in Itzehoe. The federal government is providing EUR 20 million to support the centre, which is set to open in 2026 and train up to 900 battery specialists every year.
Battery cell production has developed into a key sector in Germany. High-performance energy storage systems are viewed as an essential building block of the energy and mobility transition, not only on the road but also in the air and on water. The rapidly increasing demand for batteries is creating an extraordinary market – with forecast growth rates of 30% annually. The main driver is of course the electrification of road-bound vehicles. In Germany alone, the government is targeting 15 million registered electric vehicles by 2030.
However, the Europe-wide shortage of skilled workers is threatening to slow down the industry's rapid development and growth opportunities. To counter this, Germany's Economics Minister Robert Habeck gave the green light for a federal funding decision for around 20 million euros to a five-member consortium group in the battery hub of Itzehoe.
The education and training initiative will be implemented by five equal partners: two battery manufacturers Northvolt and CustomCells, the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicon Technology (ISIT), the Renewable Energies Hamburg Industry Network (EEHH) and the training company Heinze Akademie GmbH. The project is also sponsored by VDI/VDE Innovation + Technik GmbH.
This commitment is intended to close the looming skills gap in the long term – and serve as a model for the whole of Germany.
According to estimates by the German government, more than 10,000 domestic jobs will be created in the production, use and recycling of batteries in the coming years. With the announcement of new and future projects – especially in the field of electromobility – this number could increase further, and significantly. With the planned opening of Northvolt’s battery cell factory in Heide in 2026, and the expansion plans of CustomCells in Itzehoe – the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein alone will need several thousand specialists in the field by 2030.
Within the next one and a half years, a competence centre will be built at the site of the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicon Technology (ISIT). From 2026, 600 to 900 specialists per year will be trained there.
"Battery technology has a key function. It is enormously important for the mobility of the future, the energy transition and thus for Germany as a business location overall. Well-trained specialists are of immense importance for this. That's why we are funding six projects across Germany to secure skilled workers in the battery sector. Here in Itzehoe, it is clear how this implementation can succeed," says German Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection Robert Habeck in a press release.