By Shaun Milne
SCOTLAND’S eco industry received a boost of 650 new training places today (tues).
Education Secretary Michael Russell pledged the new support for employers working to support a low carbon economy.
The training, to be delivered through Skills Development Scotland, is being funded with the support of the European Social Fund.
The Scottish Government said the announcement would help firms reskill or upskill employees in low carbon technologies, helping with the economic benefits of greener business.
Mr Russell made the announcement at Jiao Tong University in Shanghai where he was joined by Scotland’s University experts in marine, solar and bio-energy and prominent Chinese academics in energy studies.
The Scottish delegation is visiting as part of the Education UK Scotland programme organised by the British Council to showcase the best of Scotland’s world leading renewable energy research and teaching in skills and technology.
He said: “Scotland has a global lead in renewable energy. The Scottish Government has invested millions to develop our competitive edge in clean, green energy and we are equally committed to helping industry move to low carbon products and services.
“We have the most ambitious emissions reduction targets in the world.
“Our ambitions for a greener and wealthier Scotland match our vast potential to capitalise on our natural advantage in renewable energy on a global scale, and we have the natural resources and the desire to become a leading low carbon economy. Of course, we need the right people, with the right skills and expertise to continue attracting our share of the billions of pounds of investment in green energy.
“I am joined by some of the leading minds in this field from Scotland and China to learn more about positive collaborations in the area of renewable energy education and research between our two countries.
“Scotland’s representatives will tomorrow begin a mission in Qingdao, showcasing the best of Scotland’s world-leading renewable energy research, teaching, skills and technology, and fostering links with institutions there.
“Today’s announcement further demonstrates that Scotland is investing in our workforce to ensure we have the necessary skills to maintain our lead in the renewable energy field and bring us even closer towards achieving a low carbon economy.”
Damien Yeates, Chief Executive, Skills Development Scotland said: “Skills Development Scotland is committed to equipping people with the training and skills they need to fulfil their potential, helping businesses fulfil their goals.
“The Scottish Government, SDS and our partners are dedicated to supporting and funding areas where new workforce skills are required to capitalise on opportunities and developments in renewables and low carbon fields.
“The low carbon skills fund will provide businesses with access to sector specific training to help improve their performance, efficiency and improvement processes around low carbon. By developing a highly skilled, more confident workforce Scotland will be able to maximise the benefits of its natural resources in these vital emerging sectors.”
The Scottish Government, with the support of European Social Fund money, said it has so far invested £585,000 to fund these training places this year.
The fund will be open to all private sector, voluntary and community-not-for-profit organisations, employing less than 250 staff, whose current or intended business activity is in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and/or carbon reduction.
The initial focus will be on skill needs within the built environment, including microgeneration, and energy efficiency.
Companies wanting more information and to find out which Sector Skills Council applies to their business can contact Skills Development Scotland on 0800 783 6000.