Associate Feature: Building the green skills for Scotland’s jobs of the future
The agenda ahead is clear: we are on a path to decarbonising the way in which we heat our homes, which will involve a wider scale adoption of renewable forms of heating, energy generation and storage. With this in mind, it is vital that the next generation of workers across the energy sector is equipped with the appropriate skills to not only implement these new technologies at serious scale, but also to provide high-quality advice, guidance and support to all homes throughout the process.
Warmworks is an organisation that is driven not only by the ambition of supporting people across the country to be more affordably warm in their home, but also to invest in and develop the skills that will support the green jobs of the future. We have already started to install renewable heating systems in homes across the country - including some of the most vulnerable households in Scotland, who are hardest hit by rising energy prices - under the Warmer Homes Scotland scheme. Whilst the primary goal of the national fuel poverty scheme is to reduce energy costs, it also lowers carbon emissions and helps to drive the Scottish Government’s wider ambitions for securing a just transition to a Net Zero nation. In the last year, the scheme has seen more low-carbon renewable heating technology installed in homes than in any other year since its launch in 2015.
To ensure that we can continue to provide this vital work, Warmworks has recognised the need to work collaboratively with our supply chain to provide opportunities to develop and harness the key skills that the decarbonisation transition demands. With that in mind, we have developed a unique employment support initiative, known as Warmstart, to provide opportunities to young people and those who are looking to restart their career within the energy services industry. Warmstart seeks to create, develop, and support meaningful work placements, apprenticeships, jobs and mentoring opportunities across our business and the wider supply chain.
Since it was launched in 2021, Warmstart has had a successful initial phase, with 24 young people brought onboard as Warmstarters in the first year. We have seen a 90% retention rate amongst this group and a range of positive long-term outcomes achieved, with many of these young people going on to secure permanent jobs and apprenticeships. In the summer of this year, we launched the second phase of the initiative, which looks to target those over 25 who are looking to ‘restart’ their career, as well as young people aged 16-24.
Stephen Gray is a Warmstart who started their placement in 2021. He says:
“I have wanted to be a part of this industry ever since leaving school and this new role has provided me with an amazing entry point. Warmstart has given me an opportunity to develop my skills and to learn first-hand from people who have worked in the sector for many years.”
By developing the people and skills that will support the delivery of heat decarbonisation into the future, we are future proofing our industry. Our goal is to make sure that the next generation of workers in the energy services industry has the skills required to deliver improvements that aim to decarbonise how our homes are heated. At the same time recognising that a highly trained, customer focused, and sustainable workforce will be a key factor in ensuring that the process by which homes adopt new, renewable technologies is one that is supportive and inclusive.
Attracting new talent to the energy efficiency industry, and then providing a sustainable base from which to nurture and develop it, is crucial if we are to make a just transition to a Net Zero nation. Our Warmstart initiative aims to create opportunities for those coming into our industry to become equipped with the green skills that will be needed for the jobs of the future.
This article is sponsored by Warmworks, www.warmworks.co.uk