Scottish First Minister Urges Young People to Take Advantage of Renewables Sector

Scottish First Minister Urges Young People to Take Advantage of Renewables Sector

First Minister Alex Salmond has urged Scotland’s young people to join the country’s renewables revolution and take advantage of the “unparalleled opportunities” for employment being opened up in the sector.

Speaking before a Strathclyde University event to mark the award of honorary degrees to six prominent energy figures, the First Minister said Scotland’s future industrialists would “achieve great, transformational things for energy generation in Scotland” as they build careers around the skilled employment opportunities being attracted to this country.

Mr Salmond cited investments from major energy industry firms in renewables and oil and gas as well as recent developments in new technologies such as carbon capture and storage as exciting examples of the growth in a vibrant energy industry that is driving the reindustrialisation of Scotland.

The First Minister said one of the major reasons the planet’s leading energy companies were attracted to Scotland was the high quality of its people, with a world-class universities sector and modern apprenticeships already developing the highly-skilled workforce of the future.

But he called on all of Scotland’s young people to consider a career in the industry to help ensure the country can continue to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving, highly-specialised sector and remain at the forefront of world energy development.

The First Minister said, given the country’s energy challenge in the coming decades, it was particularly important to encourage women into the industry so that the entire range of Scotland’s skills is deployed to maintain the renewables and oil and gas success story.

Mr Salmond said:

“Scotland’s energy heritage is world-renowned, and our skilled workforce is a major attraction for the leading energy firms that are bringing investment and thousands of jobs to our country. 

“We already have a world-class university base, and this is being increasingly complemented by a range of apprenticeships and training that is preparing the industry leaders of the future to achieve great, transformational things for energy generation in Scotland.

“The skilled workers of tomorrow will be absolutely key to the success of the major investments now being located in Scotland by some of the biggest energy industry players.

“Firms such as Areva, Samsung Heavy Industries, Mitsubishi Power Systems, Gamesa, E.ON and Alstom have shown their faith in Scotland with recent massive investments and these, coupled with the ongoing commitment of firms such as Iberdrola, the Wood Group, Weir Group and SSE, will offer the young people of Scotland an unparalleled opportunity to carve out a successful career in one of the globe’s most exciting industries.  

“Over the next decade, the offshore wind industry in particular has the potential to create up to 28,000 jobs.  At the same time, the workforce demands of our oil and gas sector – which supports around 198,000 jobs – will also need to be met, alongside the specialised workforce that will be required to develop new technologies such as carbon capture and storage.   

“We must therefore ensure that Scotland has the skills capacity to meet this energy challenge, by encouraging more of our young people to enter the industry and take advantage of the skills development we are putting in place. 

“There are some fantastic training opportunities now opening up in Scotland for anybody who wants a career in energy.  For example, the skills academy run by Global Energy Group at Nigg is aiming to train thousands of apprentices and trainees over the next three years as they seek to meet the industry demand for skilled engineers. 

“But it is vital that we ensure the skills of all of Scotland’s people are utilised to drive forward our burgeoning energy sector by encouraging more women to get involved.  At the moment, we know that men outnumber women in the sector by more than four to one, a statistic that we must change if Scotland is to realise its full energy potential.”

The First Minister was guest of honour at an event at Glasgow Science Centre organised by Strathclyde University to celebrate the achievements of six energy figures given honorary degrees by the institution.

The honorary graduates were: Ignacio Galán, chairman and chief executive officer of Iberdrola; Ian Marchant, chief executive officer of SSE; Sir Ian Wood, former chairman of the Wood Group; Professor David MacKay, Chief Scientific Advisor at the Department of Energy and Climate Change; Keith Cochrane, group chief executive of the Weir Group and Steve Holliday, chief executive of the National Grid.


Press release, February 19, 2013; Image: Scottish Government