A cutting-edge skills academy for Scotland’s renewable energy sector has been opened by First Minister Alex Salmond during a visit to Steel Engineering as part of a programme of events to mark the Scottish Cabinet visit to Renfrew.
Sixty modern apprentices will be trained during the first year of the Renewable Energy Skills Training Academy (TRESTA), which is operated by Steel Engineering on the firm’s industrial site at Westway in Renfrew.
During his visit the First Minister and Youth Employment Minister Angela Constance met the first intake of trainees at TRESTA as they begin their training in the fabrication skills required to help them play their part in Scotland’s renewables revolution.
The First Minister also officially opened the newly expanded Steel Engineering facility at the Westway park, which will be used to help the fabricating firm deliver major renewables contracts and support the company’s efforts to create around 120 new jobs in the local community.
While on site, the First Minister inspected a vast CGI rendering of the new Westway dock project, which will see the existing area dredged and a new facility constructed to allow the transport of massive equipment to and from the site.
In May, that project became one of the first to receive an award from the Scottish Government’s National Renewables Infrastructure Fund after the First Minister announced a £500,000 grant to take it forward.
Speaking ahead of the visit, First Minister Alex Salmond said:
“There is recognition within the energy industry of the need for additional skilled labour to meet the demands of Scotland’s burgeoning renewables industry over the next five years, and I am delighted to be opening Steel Engineering’s TRESTA facility which will help the industry meet this ambition.
“Creating and securing jobs, particularly for young people, is a key priority for the Scottish Government and a major part of our efforts is about investing in workforce training and development such as that on offer in this new, cutting-edge TRESTA facility. The trainees entering this exciting centre can expect to become fully equipped to be an integral part of Scotland’s renewables revolution.
“Developing a vibrant and sustainable renewables industry will significantly benefit both the environment and economy of Scotland. TRESTA is a perfect example of how the public and private sector can work together quickly and decisively to deliver access to world-class training to meet Scotland’s global energy ambition and support exciting new job opportunities for young people.”
Peter Breslin, managing director of Steel Engineering, said:
“We are delighted to welcome the First Minister to experience the work we do to ensure young people are given every opportunity to secure quality training for the renewable sector. As an Investors in People company, Steel Engineering is very proud to play a part in tackling youth employment issues and our modern apprentices are encouraged to reach their full potential at all times.
“The TRESTA model has the potential to be delivered in various locations, working with different industry partners across Scotland. Indeed, it is our intention to establish a TRESTA academy at every Steel Engineering location.”
The Renewable Energy Skills Training Academy (TRESTA) will be run by Steel Engineering on the firm’s site in Renfrew. The project has received financial support from Scottish Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland, Job Centre Plus, Renfrewshire Council, as well as various private sector sponsors. Trainees will receive tuition in skills such as first aid, manual handling, abrasive wheel work and welding.
The expanded Steel Engineering facility at Westway has seen the firm take up an additional 70,000sq ft of space to help its expansion in renewable sectors, including wind, wave and tidal power. Earlier this year, Steel Engineering announced plans to create an additional 120 jobs on site.