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Molecules April 2022: Workplace of the future with Italgas: putting people, process and innovation at the heart of work

Our world is going through many emergencies. We are experiencing a period of crisis that is putting our society under strain. The worries of the current situation, however, must not make us forget that we are in a climate emergency. To prevent any further damage to our planet we need to move quickly and strategically on the energy transition. We must revolutionise our energy systems towards a decarbonised world by 2050.

At the same time, we’re experiencing a digital transition accelerated by the global pandemic. We use innovation and technology to modernise our lives. The digital transition is also the key factor in improving our energy efficiency and decarbonising our economy.

But we cannot progress on either front without the other essential change – a transition involving people. While we move towards a more innovative and decarbonised world, we need to ensure that there is a qualified workforce to drive these changes.

Italgas realises that the right skills that will be necessary to fulfil our digitalisation and decarbonisation goals are built over time.

Some of the employees have been at Italgas for over 20 years. In their time, they have seen technology change and improve at an increasingly high pace. This is why Italgas has taken it onto itself to upskill and train the existing workforce. In 2020, Italgas carried out over 75,000 hours of training, of which over 20,000 were on digitisation issues, with increasingly challenging objectives in the coming years.

To further enhance internal know-how, during the last year, a specific program was created to promote Digital Transformation. It saw the birth of a community of 65 Digital Ambassadors who act as internal teachers. Each Ambassador takes a proactive role in the training initiatives.

Italgas is committed to inclusion and diversity goals in our workforce. In the last four years, Italgas hired 500 young graduates in the technical and operational areas, of which almost 45% are women. Italgas also collaborates with organisations like Valore D and STEM by Women.

Striving for a gender-balanced organisation is not only our responsibility, it will improve our ability to deal with the coming changes. After all, diversity strengthens resilience.

Following that reasoning, Italgas offers training to our technical employees to increase their involvement in the operational and managerial side of the business. Italgas strives to include employees from all backgrounds in providing solutions.

With that thought in mind, Italgas created the Digital Factory. It is an ideas workshop, where our employees are encouraged to create a new way of working, tackle problems, and seek solutions. Within each room, there are around 20 colleagues with different experience, skills and seniority but all with a common desire to find new solutions.

This is everything Italgas can do in the short term to create a better labour force for tomorrow. In the long run, we need to promote a mindset revolution. From very early on we need to encourage young people to go into STEM. That is why Italgas is working with universities to promote STEM careers to young people, for example by partnering with Luiss Business School.

A skilled labour force is an essential part of the digital and energy transitions. While we concentrate on taking our economies into a new era of decarbonisation and innovation, we need to remember that it will only be possible if we take our current and future employees there with us.