Mike Russell Announces Renewable Jobs Boost


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

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 upskill and reskill employees in low carbon technologies as part of the Scottish Government’s drive to maximise the economic benefits of greener business.

Education Secretary Michael 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.

The Education Secretary 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, has 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.

To qualify for the funded training places, businesses must demonstrate their work fits with the following:

  • Increasing energy efficiency of products and/or the built environment
  • Increasing energy efficiency relating to process improvements
  • Installing lower carbon products or renewable energy resources

Skills Development Scotland is working closely with Sector Skills Councils to deliver this training initiative. The following Sector Skills Councils are involved: Construction Skills, Energy and Utility Skills, ProSkills, Summit Skills and Asset Skills. The Low Carbon Skills Fund will be available for companies operating within those sectors. Companies wanting more information and to find out which Sector Skills Council applies to their business should contact Skills Development Scotland on 0800 783 6000.

The Scottish Government’s innovative Engage for Education site allows users to read blogs from Ministers, post comments and get involved in workshops on issues relating to education.