Associate feature: Scotland can accelerate the energy transition by creating green jobs today
Scotland has the opportunity to be at the forefront of the global energy transition. We can become a world leader in low carbon and renewable energy - ensuring our energy security, tackling climate change and powering a new net zero economy.
But how do we make sure that Scotland’s renewable energy boom generates a green jobs revolution?
We all share a common vision of delivering access to well-paid, sustainable, energy sector jobs and new careers in low-carbon industries for people across Scotland. As shared in research by Robert Gordons University, it has been estimated that as many as 54,000 new energy jobs could be created in Scotland by 2030.
But the green jobs bonanza is far from guaranteed.
The energy industry transition is a delicate balancing act. We need to retain experienced workers in our oil and gas industry to continue producing, decarbonise and decommission, ensure oil and gas workers can transition seamlessly to the renewables sector, and develop new skills in the next generation of energy sector workers that are needed for renewable energy.
We have seen a strong focus from government on how we create the skills we need to deliver renewable energy projects, and this is important work.
The recent report of the independent review of Scotland’s skills delivery landscape, authored by James Withers, is a welcome step forward. We need to make sure that our skills bodies understand the skills we need in our workforce, and the gaps that currently exist and need filled, to target action in developing the skills that will help us cement Scotland’s place as a global green energy leader. This reform must be progressed at pace, and the private sector has a role to play in working with public bodies to identify skills needs.
But skills is only part of the puzzle. We could have the most skilled workforce in the world, but that counts for little unless we have jobs where people can use those skills.
The critical factor that will determine whether or not we meet our jobs ambition is how much investment we can attract to low carbon and renewable energy projects in Scotland. It is investment and a critical mass of renewable energy activity that will spark Scotland’s green jobs boom. As far as possible, the renewable energy revolution should be designed, built, maintained and managed here in Scotland.
If we are to succeed in attracting the right level of investment, then we need to make sure that our workforce doesn’t just have the skills we need to deliver these kinds of projects – but the experience too.
That is why, as a world-first initiative, X-Academy is unique in its focus on working with the public and private sector to create jobs and opportunities today, in order to meet the demand for an experienced workforce tomorrow.
Initially established through grant funding from the Scottish Government’s North East Economic Recovery and Skills Fund, the X-Academy approach is to create paid positions on real renewable and low carbon energy projects. Through working on real life projects, people develop vital experience that equips them to take advantage of long-term, diverse careers in the net zero economy and helps reassure potential investors that both the skills and the experience to deliver their projects can be found here in Scotland. For example, X-Academy’s partnership with ScotWind consortium partners bp and EnBW has created entry-level energy transition roles and reskilled experienced workers.
We are proud of our impact, but there is more to do. The scale of the challenge is significant and urgent. It requires a clear route map for the energy jobs transition, backed by serious public investment and a partnership approach with industry to delivering these jobs.
To realise Scotland’s energy jobs ambition – we must accelerate the creation of new green jobs that builds vital skills and experience in our workforce and attracts investment.
This article is sponsored by X-Academy