Sustainable skills for Scotland

Posted on 25 Oct 2010 by The Manufacturer

Hundreds of new training places for employers working to support a low carbon economy have been announced by the Scottish Government.

The 650 new places, to be delivered through Skills Development Scotland, are being funded with the support of the European Social Fund to enable employers to up-skill and re-skill employees in low carbon technologies as part of the Scottish Government’s drive to maximise the economic benefits of greener business. The investment will build on previous support from the Fund which has invested £585,000 in Scottish training so far this year.

The training announcement was made last week by Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, Michael Russell MSP, 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 delegation was 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.

Mr Russell 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.

“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.”

This training announcement was made last week and will add further force to the announcement made British government today that it will invest £60m in green infrastructure in the UK and £200m in Technology and Innovation Centres to support the growth of green industry and other strategic markets.
The consistent desire from all UK regions to excel in the emerging green economy and become recognised internationally as a leader in sustainable energy production and supply sends a coherent message to industry that green technology is an area for investment and education.

However, if real confidence and resilience is to be developed across the UK supply chain for sustainable energy there may be a need for more clarity on how skills will be deployed across UK regions and how infrastructure investments, research centres and resource rich areas for technical skills will connect to exploit opportunities to the full.