Smart utilities: the skills of the future for smart networks and cities

The future of multi-utilities 

Multi-utilities play an active role in transforming cities in new, increasingly more innovative urban models: smart cities.
Riding the digitalization wave, the technical and professional skills of the people working for multi-utility companies are changing quickly and organizational models and work processes are transforming.

The challenge for multi-utility companies is finding the right balance between innovative work methods, that aim to achieve sustainability and digitalization, and aspects concerning preserving know-how and consolidated skills. So how does the traditional side of the business fit in with the digitalization of the infrastructures and processes? Multi-utility companies like Acea have started to offer completely new training programs that expand well beyond technical skills. Acea has focused greatly on the new working methods, including agile methodology, and on strengthening soft skills and all-round digital skills.

Acea Digital Academy

At Acea, in October 2020, we started a Digital Academy that provides training courses to thousands of people and focuses on aspects linked to digitalization, such as open innovation, digital culture, and project management. Additionally, we have been concentrating on specific aspects such as Industry 4.0, agile work methodology derived from the software sector, and aspects linked to valorizing diversity and inclusion.

To develop new skills, training alone is not enough. Acea also aims to identify and select professional figures to take on the challenges of the future. People able to support the Group’s growth using skills that can guarantee the continuity of the services offered, sustain the technology revolution and business digitalization, and able to promote the sustainable and inclusive development of Acea and the ecosystem in which it operates. People able to act and intervene effectively in environments that change constantly, within the new organizational models that will develop in response to the changes in society and the economy; people familiar and comfortable with technology and complexity.

Professional figures that bring skills linked with the world of innovation and the improvement and optimization of processes from a digital and sustainable development perspective; the world of data, privacy, and security, with a special emphasis on cybersecurity; the Digital & Data Analytics, Customer Experience Marketing, energy efficiency and sustainable mobility sectors.

At Acea, change is driven by the people, who are the first to get involved in the evolution of company.  

Training and changing mindsets 

At Acea, we got people from all company levels involved in our classrooms. For example, the digitalization training courses are not targeted exclusively to those who work with AI and Big Data tools, or are involved in smart city or network projects. People working in different sectors and companies across the Group have taken part in these courses. The aim is to define and develop a mental approach, a digital culture, able to serve all business areas and help create a work environment that valorizes the potential of each individual.

Digital skills are useful to form a new mindset, establish a knowledge base and soft skills that allow people to operate efficiently in digital, complex, and rapidly evolving environments and face new challenges flexibly. The objective of the new training programs is exactly to develop a work approach oriented towards innovation and sustainability. In particular, training courses for managers are conceived to provide them with support to redesign a new business epicenter and infuse awareness with regard to elements that can have a positive impact on workflow, collaboration between teams, and motivation. We have worked on their ability to listen to their own and other people’s emotions, on how to communicate effectively remotely, through feedback and circular communications, on how to restore depth and unicity in relations. 

We are committed to valorizing our people and promoting their growth. Our aim is to create a company culture oriented towards innovation, sustainability, and inclusion, able to support the achievement of our Business objectives 

Jlenia Sassi - Head of Recruiting and Training at Acea Group

Acea Sustainability Ambassadors 

In addition to regular training sessions, the evolution of multi-utility companies during the transition process can be facilitated by the presence of intermediaries within the company as well as between the company and the community.
This is why some companies have appointed figures that play the role of company mindset ambassadors to create a common objective and get everyone involved in this transformation.
For example, Acea has appointed a number of Sustainability Ambassadors, figures tasked with diffusing prospects, approaches, and projects inspired by digitalization, sustainability and innovation.

As part of work-related learning programs, Acea’s Sustainability Ambassadors got 13 schools involved, introducing sustainability projects in line with the Group’s commitment to help reach the Sustainable Development Goals on the UN 2030 Agenda. Students, guided by the Ambassadors, worked on ten sustainability projects adopting innovative approaches. Acea then rewarded four of these projects and one of them will be implemented, making the school completely self-sustainable.

Because we are constantly evolving, these steps are crucial to creating an innovative and sustainable path to connect the company with the community, combining traditional skills and digitalization.

Through these training programs and the diffusion of the skills of the future, multi-utility companies like Acea become the protagonists of change, finding the right balance between preserving their consolidated know-how and developing skills oriented towards digitalization, innovation, and sustainability.