By a Newsnet reporter
ScottishPower has announced plans to recruit 300 engineers as it upgrades the electricity network in central and southern Scotland.
The power giant expects to invest over £5bn to upgrade the electricity network in the region over the next 10 years, and is launching a recruitment drive to boost its engineering and technical workforce by creating 300 new roles.
It is anticipated there will be around 50 new apprenticeships created and the graduate programme will look to take in at least 50 new graduates by 2013.
ScottishPower Chairman Ignacio Galán made the announcement today at the company’s training headquarters in Cumbernauld with First Minister Alex Salmond.
The company needs the new generation of engineers to deliver the most important upgrades to the electricity network in over half a century, but at the same time the energy industry is facing an impending skills gap.
To address this skills gap, ScottishPower is also investing £6.5 million in grassroots skills development between 2011 and 2013. This investment will range from developing pre-apprentice schools programmes, to establishing technical partnerships with colleges and universities, all the way through to the sponsorship of specialist post graduate scholarships.
Ignacio Galán, Chairman of ScottishPower, said: “The move to the low carbon economy, from modern and efficient electricity networks to new renewable energy generation will be a catalyst for economic growth and job creation.
“Overall, we are projecting investments totalling £12 billion in the UK over the course of this decade and it is vital we do all that we can to encourage people to develop the skills required to take advantage of these investments.
“We are announcing 300 skilled jobs today, in an industry where workers will have lifelong development opportunities. Our aim is to ensure that school children and those at college and university see this kind of skilled employment as an attractive option. Engineers are retiring every day and we want to see the next generation of workers knocking on our door to fill their places.”
Senor Galán said his firm were encouraged with the Scottish Government’s pledge to deliver 25,000 new apprenticeships and said it would certainly help his industry fill the skills gap.
First Minister Alex Salmond said: “Three hundred new high-skilled jobs for Scotland’s energy sector is very encouraging news indeed. ScottishPower’s £6.5 million commitment is further proof of the continued long term investment by global companies in Scotland’s fast growing renewables industry.
“Scotland’s energy sector has the potential to reindustrialise this country and provide work for tens of thousands of Scots in the years to come. This kind of investment in training is critical to create the new generation of skilled workers to power our low carbon future – and it’s something that is also a top priority for the Scottish Government.”
Local MSP Jamie Hepburn described the news as fantastic for the area and for Scotland’s energy sector.
The SNP MSP for Cumbernauld and Kilsyth said:
“What is particularly encouraging is the fact a third of the jobs are earmarked for graduates and apprentices.
“The SNP Government is committed to creating a new generation of skilled workers to power our low-carbon future, which is why this announcement is so welcome.
“Our young people are the future and it is vital we ensure they are equipped with the skills needed to realise the next generation of workers in this field.”