5. Transitioning to a Net Zero Economy
As one of the key commitments in the Scottish Government’s Climate Emergency Skills Action Plan (CESAP), Year 2 of NTTF increased the number of projects supporting the upskilling and reskilling of the workforce in preparation for the transition to a net zero economy. Projects supported by NTTF spanned several sectors, including construction, advanced manufacturing and engineering. Partners involved in delivery included Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (now Built Environment – Smarter Transformation Scotland, BE-ST), Historic Environment Scotland, NatureScot, and the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland.
National Manufacturing Institute Scotland – Manufacturing Skills Academy
To provide support to the advanced manufacturing sector, the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS) – Manufacturing Skills Academy developed five sub-projects for delivery building on the success of the NTTF Year 1 programme. These were:
(1) Increasing Inclusivity in Manufacturing;
(2) Programme to Support Industry 4.0, II;
(3) Net Zero Carbon and Sustainability;
(4) Micro-credential programme in Digital Manufacturing to Net Zero; and
(5) Graduate Trainee Programme II.
NMIS worked with a wide range of partners to deliver the programme including those in Scottish Research Partnership in engineering (SRPe), further and higher education institutions in Scotland, and High Value Manufacturing Catapult centres. A specific focus on addressing a lack of diversity in the sector saw new partners, including Equate Scotland and the Association of Black and Ethnic Minority Engineers (AFBE) Scotland, becoming involved.
Overall, the project provided 821 training opportunities and supported 90 employers. 26 stakeholder-focussed engagements were organised through the project. A total of 178 individuals took part in the Transitions Training programme with Equate and the AFBE, with 40% of participants being female and over 80% BAME. 50% of those who took part in the graduate programme and completed the final survey had been offered full time jobs or extensions to their contracts.
Looking to longer term sustainability, and in addition to delivery of the training, the NTTF2 team built their capability by investing in the development of 13 new upskilling courses, one 20-credit micro-credential course on ‘digital manufacturing to net zero’, one career accelerator mentoring programme and one carbon accounting accelerator programme.
NTTF has supported the development of international links to the Manufacturing Skills Academy. The development work on the Micro-Credentials Framework has led to international interest and is supporting the building of relationships with universities and employers both in Scotland and across the globe. Flinders University, who are working with BAE Australia, have signed an MOU with the University of Strathclyde who, along with NMIS, are working with BAE in Scotland. Similarly, VTC Canada are in discussion around some of the CPD created for the Manitoba Heavy Vehicle and Equipment manufacturing community.
To encourage retraining and upskilling in the industry, the Aircraft Decommissioning project, administered by SFC, was a six-week training course that was introduced in Year 1 of NTTF and continued into Year 2. The project aimed to build on the foundations of the original NTTF project, which established a training capability at Prestwick. Overall, this project succeeded in supporting individuals through a total of 213 training opportunities, as well as supporting seven businesses. The courses exposed individuals to a variety of training which provided them with an improved understanding of the sector and relevant skills. Due to its success, South Ayrshire Council provided additional funds to ensure the continuation of the training programme.
Delivered by SE, the Aerospace Diversification project aimed to upskill the existing workforce to help the aerospace sector to build capacity to address the impact of Covid-19. It also helped develop new capabilities in order to diversify into neighbouring markets, such as Space, Defence, Renewables, and Sustainable Aviation. A total of 1,340 individuals and 14 businesses were supported through this project. While the projects were continuing at the end of NTTF support, the expected outcomes for the programme were:
- Diversification of products and services to enter new markets;
- Increased capacity to undertake new activities in existing and new markets;
- Increased capacity to operate new manufacturing and operational equipment;
- Improved/advanced manufacturing processes;
- Improved continuous improvement processes; and
- Reduced waste, CO2 emissions.
A similar project introduced by The University of Strathclyde and administered by SFC in Year 1 was the Aircraft Electrification project. This project invested in equipment and developed four electrification courses, building a good mix of training content that encompasses presentation material and innovative practical exercises that reinforce learning. While the project received significant demand from the industry in Year 1, the challenges experienced by the sector had considerably impacted on the availability of Scottish delegates to join the planned multi-day courses. As such, the project was continued into Year 2 of the Fund.
In total, 27 learners were supported through this project. The aero-electrical courses offered through this project provided delegates with a valuable appreciation of the electrification technologies and systems that will contribute to the decarbonisation of air transport. Feedback from participants described the training as excellent and incredibly valuable, while positive feedback and discussion with industry delegates confirmed the ongoing need for such course content in electrification technologies.
Climate Emergency Skills Action Plan – Green Jobs Workforce Academy
To help encourage the societal and economic changes required to achieve net zero ambitions and in line with the themes identified in the Climate Emergency Skills Action Plan (CESAP), five sub-projects were introduced and administered by SDS as part of the CESAP-related provision - Green Jobs Workforce Academy.
- The first project was the Upskilling and Reskilling Fabric and Structure of Net Zero. This project aimed to support the construction industry to move to low carbon materials and techniques by upskilling key influencers connected to the industry. 90 individuals completed training at the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (now BE-ST) on one of five topics – Carbon Accounting, Sustainable Insulation, Mass Timber Solutions, Fabric First, Passivhaus and Retrofit Alignment. A further 529 individuals were supported via webinars (142 live, 387 via recordings on YouTube). The programme also supported the development of the training materials as all of these areas are new, with emerging and new legacy resources a successful outcome of the programme.
- The Climate Emergency Literary Skills delivered by Keep Scotland Beautiful offered an introductory-level understanding of the climate emergency across society and offered targeted sector specific programmes to support individuals within their sectors work towards transformational change. 220 individuals across 142 businesses gained carbon literacy accreditation.
- Transitioning at Pace to Meet Net Zero was delivered by the Verdancy Group and was aimed at senior leaders to upskill within the practices of implementing change within their organisation to achieve net zero ambition. This was delivered to 157 individuals.
Both Climate Emergency Literacy Skills and Transitioning at Pace projects are continuing to be delivered through other revenue streams e.g. local authorities and directly by industry.
- The Working with Rivers Training Placement Scheme (Net Zero Skills New Entrants Training) was delivered by NatureScot to provide 20 individuals with a short-term placement to provide net zero work experience. It offered access to high-quality on-the-job experience across a range of employers engaged in natural flood management, riparian woodland creation, and river restoration.
The project helped increase capacity to deliver river restoration projects, with benefits for climate change and the resilience of nature and people. 11 of the participants have taken up employment in the sector, eight of these remaining with the employer who hosted the training placement. One further participant was offered a post, but chose employment elsewhere and at least one participant will work in this and other nature-based sectors on a self-employed basis, following the placement.
- The final project was the Net Zero Awareness for Manufacturing SMEs. With a global focus on decarbonisation as a key part of the economic recovery from Covid-19, this project aimed to ensure that SMEs in engineering and manufacturing are ready to play a role in Scotland’s green recovery and can take full advantage of opportunities for diversification, strengthening sustainability, and planning their own net zero route-map. Overall, 100 businesses were supported through this initiative. The project exceeded expectations in terms of awareness, interest, and desire for action from SMEs, with 14 SMEs agreeing to publish a Net Zero Road Map. Scottish Engineering used their own funding to continue the project until December 2022 and maximise its impact.
To support the transition to, and creation of sustainable jobs, the Green Jobs project managed by SE aimed to upskill and retrain workers into sustainable green jobs, providing individuals with job security and career development opportunities, whilst creating a highly skilled workforce.
This project was part of the Green Jobs Fund programme of grants which supported businesses and social enterprises to create and retain jobs that produce goods or services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources, as well as jobs that help drive more environmentally friendly processes in organisations across Scotland. As this was a capital resource, necessary training for staff involved in delivery of the Fund in businesses was made available through NTTF.
The project succeeded in upskilling 197 individuals and supporting 13 businesses.
Built Environment –Smarter Transformation (BE-ST) – Skills for a Low Carbon Future
Building on a successful Passivhaus programme in the first year of NTTF, the Low Carbon Learning programme was supported in Year 2 by NTTF and the SFC . In response to growing demand, it expanded to include Passivhaus, retrofit and building fabric.
It provided upskilling and reskilling in Low Carbon Construction with a focus on a fabric first approach to both existing and new buildings. This supported the Scottish Government’s 2045 net-zero carbon emissions targets. The Built Environment – Smarter Transformation (BE–ST) – Skills for a Low Carbon Future project sought to upskill and reskill existing construction operatives to provide a workforce fit for the future who can rise to the demands of a green recovery. By upskilling the industry in this way, BE–ST aimed to mitigate the potential for redundancy as it enables the existing workforce to futureproof their skillset.
The project succeeded in training 1,761 individuals, supporting 369 businesses. From a survey of 314 people, 204 (65%) stated that their job had been created or safeguarded due to participating in the Low Carbon Learning Programme. BE-ST also worked closely with Equate Scotland and Women in Property, delivering courses in Passivhaus and Retrofit focusing on female specific sessions. Many of the trainees from the Low Carbon Learning courses are going to utilise this knowledge to impact on large-scale construction projects in Scotland.
Future sustainability of the programme is being developed through successful partnerships with industry, such as Morrison Construction who have led on a collaborative project to design and construct three Passivhaus solution for steel frames. This project is an open learning source for the Built Environment in particular construction industry supply.
Caitriona Jordan, head of retrofit programmes at BE-ST said: “Skills will be an absolutely critical part of helping the construction sector as well as the UK and Scottish economies move towards a zero carbon future. We want to help construction workers develop their knowledge and expertise of the gold standard for energy efficient homes, and the AECB CarbonLite Retrofit course assists in gaining a deeper insight into the fields of retrofit and sustainable building standards.
“More people in the sector with knowledge of these types of buildings and the skills necessary to deliver solutions will help energy efficiency become mainstream. It will also ensure we have a workforce fit for the future and could contribute to creating new jobs in the construction supply chain while addressing societal issues such as fuel poverty.”
Historic Environment Scotland
The Historic Environment Scotland (HES) project was introduced by HES to upskill and reskill individuals in construction skills that support their employability needs and the regeneration, maintenance, energy efficiency and retrofit of pre-1919 buildings. Overall, training opportunities were provided for 110 individuals facing the most barriers to work to improve their employability. In addition, partnerships, processes, resources and capacity have been developed through this project to deliver learning opportunities for people facing the most barriers to support them to enter the construction workforce. This learning is being used to develop new programmes.
Energy Skills Partnership
Building on the success of the project in Year 1 of NTTF, the Energy Skills Partnership project provided a range of courses supporting Scottish Government's commitment to deliver a Just Transition to Net Zero. Working across the college sector with a range of employers and industry bodies, 412 individuals from the energy and construction sector were upskilled in AY 2021/22 to deliver on Net Zero targets.
Courses delivered included Transition to Wind, Electric Vehicle Maintenance, Air Source/Ground Source Heat Pumps, Solar Thermal and Solar Photovoltaic Installation and Electric Vehicle Charging Systems. The colleges involved in the project demonstrated a good geographical spread and the staff undertaking CPD in Solar Thermal and Heat Pumps were pan-Scotland, positioning colleges at the forefront of training for these sectors across Scotland. This ‘train the trainer’ approach will allow the NTTF funding to have a continued impact in areas where there is currently high demand such as Solar Photovoltaics, Electric Vehicle Repair and Maintenance Training.
Of those supported, 339 were able to retain their job, whilst 14 have gained new jobs. This will increase the scope for businesses across Scotland who have received training to deliver on large net zero projects.
National Manufacturing Institute Scotland – Manufacturing Skills Academy Graduate Training Scheme
“We are an unorthodox organisation in that we use business as a tool to effect social and environmental change. We use our own modelling to develop roles around people rather than ‘fit’ them into a role. Whilst matching was a core composite of the NTTF programme, we were able to share our modelling so that we could take graduates, who were not so easy to place and work with them over a much shorter period to demonstrate the value graduates can bring to business.
Scotland is rich in diversity of skill, thought, culture and experiences. When you have NMIS and SFC partnering, you want the very best outcomes. Whilst NMIS successfully placed graduates in business using traditional matching methods, they were also very open to working with us to explore our modelling feasibility within the NTTF programme.
We had three graduates placed with us:
One has now secured full time employment within a software company and will continue to be engaged with us to co-own a new model we will be bringing to raise in six months.
We have made one of the graduates a co-owner in the project he worked on and we are in the process of going out to raise capital and grant funding for an inclusive, accessible fintech model.
The final graduate will continue on in part time employment with us through our charity arm as he is going back to university (UWS) to undertake his Masters, where we are in the process of a partnership model with UWS which our NTTF graduate will be integral to.
We are truly thankful to SFC and NMIS for funding the NTTF programme and know that it has been a win for all involved.”
Martin Precision - Lanark
“To mitigate the impact of Covid we embarked on a strategy of diversifying from Aerospace into the new markets of Medical and Defence. Support from Scottish Enterprise (SE) and Scottish Government through the NTTF allowed us to act quickly and efficiently to reskill and upskill our staff to ensure we had no gaps in capability. As the criteria required in the new markets varies greatly to the standard we worked to for civil aerospace parts this required significant investment which we had not budgeted for.
This training project allowed the team to develop new manufacturing methods, processes and implementation which we hope will reduce our costs, improve quality and help us attract new business. This was an intensive programme which would normally take 12 months to complete however the support from SE allowed us to deliver this as an intensive programme within three months as the trainees were able to spend 100% of their time on this project. To date our staff engagement levels have increased and we have already noted a 15% increase in productivity and expect to see further gains in the future.
Our business development team have been able to seek new business opportunities with confidence that we can deliver to the quality standards expected within the new sectors. We also have a motivated workforce who feel developed, supported and more secure in their working environment and are supportive of the new direction of the business.
This NTTF support has been invaluable, it has allowed us to quote for work we would not have been able to do before and anticipate an increase in sales opportunities in new markets as a direct result.“
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