Towards A Circular Economy – Skills and competences for STEM professionals

This report provides an overview of the need for STEM skills in the transition to and during a circular economy.

This report provides an overview of the future need for STEM and engineering skills in the transition to and during a circular economy.

The benefits of transitioning to a circular economy outweigh the disadvantages. However, more efforts are needed to move from conceptualisation to implementation. The transition requires a political commitment and the right business mindset. It also requires prioritisation and investment in innovation, the utilisation of new technological solutions, and the right set of skills and competences.

We must create a shared mindset and understanding of the need for circular approaches to successfully complete the navigation from linear economies to an economy based on circularity.

Nordic engineers and STEM professionals are the frontrunners of new technological development and innovation, and the transition to a circular economy will increase the demand for new skills within engineering and the general STEM sector. However, so far, there has been very limited knowledge of what skills and competences are needed for this transition and whether these skills are provided in the Nordic STEM education field.

This report introduces the basis for a  Circular Economy Competence Framework for STEM specialists. The framework includes a set of essential technical and analytical skills for creating circular solutions. The Association of Nordic Engineers suggests implementing this framework across all engineering and STEM educations in the Nordic higher education institutions.

We also call for national governments in the Nordic Region to prioritise skills and competences in their national circular economy strategies.

This report creates a basis for further discussion, and across the Nordics, we must invest in more research on the demand for skills to achieve the green transition. Without solid arguments and sound information, we will continue to talk in hypotheticals.

We encourage you to read this report, and we invite politicians, in cooperation with business, academia, and social partners, to engage with us in finding the best solutions for securing the skills and competences to match the circular economy.