Renewable Energy (Skills Shortage)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 27th January 2011.

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Photo of Jim Tolson Jim Tolson Liberal Democrat

11. To ask the Scottish Executive what discussions it has had to address the reported skills shortage in the renewable energy industry. (S3O-12804)

Photo of Jim Mather Jim Mather Scottish National Party

The First Minister’s Scottish energy advisory board, which is co-chaired by Professor Jim McDonald of the University of Strathclyde and has representation from the key energy companies, has taken a specific interest in the future skills demands of the energy sector, including renewables. The board has commissioned Skills Development Scotland, as a member of the group, to produce a study on Scotland’s future energy skills demand.

In addition, the skills sub-group of the forum for renewable energy development in Scotland, under the energy advisory board, is charged with delivering the skills requirements that are needed for the developing renewable energy sector. By bringing together industry and key skills bodies, the group is focused on the delivery of the skills framework for action, as set out in the renewables action plan, including actions on developing appropriate qualifications and learning provision and raising awareness of the renewables industry as a positive career choice.

Photo of Jim Tolson Jim Tolson Liberal Democrat

Given the significant plans for onshore and offshore wind energy, does the minister agree that it would be in the long-term financial interests of Scotland for there to be a stepped increase in investment in wind turbine technicians, such as that which is already provided, on a small scale, by Carnegie College in Dunfermline?

Photo of Jim Mather Jim Mather Scottish National Party

There is a lot to build on vis-à-vis Carnegie College, and a lot is happening in the private sector, such as the work that is being done by Scottish and Southern Energy.

There is an opportunity for Mr Tolson and his Liberal Democrat colleagues, as well as members on the Tory benches, to come together with us as we debate electricity market reforms to ensure that the fabric of the low-carbon economy in Scotland is fully considered as we develop issues in the area along with his colleague, Chris Huhne.