Chapter 5: Economic Opportunities – Skills
115. We are committed to an economic recovery from Covid-19 that is both green and fair – where we capture the opportunities of our transition to net-zero including in green jobs, innovation and competitiveness. The need for a skilled workforce is more important than ever to enable us to meet these unprecedented challenges. As highlighted in the previous chapter, with a history of oil and gas expertise in Scotland, and building on our existing onshore and offshore wind supply chains, Scotland is comparatively very well placed to build on these existing skills, and provide skilled professionals to meet the increasing demands of the growing offshore wind industry, from planning through to development and, ultimately, operations and maintenance (O&M).
116. Our Programme for Government was published in September 2020 and sets out the key elements of a green recovery, the next step in delivering Scotland's Green New Deal. This included commitments on the part of the Scottish Government to:
- work with employers and individuals to build the necessary skills and infrastructure to support the industries of the future.
- ensure every young person has access to a job, education, training or development programme, though our Youth Guarantee.
- support older workers at risk of redundancy through our new £25 million National Transition Training Programme.
117. Through our existing STEM Strategy and our STEM Hub Partnerships, we are working with industry specialists to continue to inspire talented individuals from all backgrounds, including school leavers and career changers, and to promote the Scottish Offshore wind sector as an attractive industry for a future career.
118. Our current and future skills landscape must be able to incorporate the varying job requirements of the sector, across the supply chain, from leadership and management, project management and technical roles, project development and planning through to manufacture, construction and O&M. We must also continue to consider the export value that can be derived for the Scottish supply chain arising from exploiting our uniquely placed skills and established business networks in other countries.
119. The Scottish Government is fully committed to ensuring that our workforce is ready to meet the skills demands of industry in spite of the challenges as we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic. The Scottish Government has a long relationship with the Energy Skills Partnership (ESP) through grant-funding where they provide technology and their valuable expertise to college courses across the country. This has been used to establish courses which are under high demand, and which result in a high level of graduate employment.
120. The Scottish supply chain must be able to provide companies with access to the skills required to develop projects now, and as we look towards the future. To fully understand this, the industry must be able to indicate estimated job requirements to allow our skills capacity and capability to be fully prepared and we anticipate they will be able to provide government and its agencies with this information via the ScotWind leasing round and their Supply Chain Development Statement.
121. The Scottish Government will work closely with key partners, such as the Energy Skills Alliance, which is working to produce a clear forecast of energy skills demand up to 2050, deliver an integrated energy apprenticeship scheme by 2022 and develop a roadmap for aligning training and standards by 2021. This alignment of training and standards across energy sectors is crucial to allowing offshore wind to benefit from and utilise the skills and expertise of the oil and gas industry. Removing the need for the workforce to obtain additional certification in order to transfer into other energy sectors, will be a key enabler for companies to diversify their business portfolios and to meet the required skills demand
122. Scotland's clusters, DeepWind and Forth & Tay, will remain crucial forums for industry to collaborate and communicate in locations where the current demand for skilled offshore wind jobs is at its highest. Further to this, SOWEC is working to understand the anticipated demand for skills in Scotland, which will allow us to ensure that the skills supply is in place in line with industry demand.
123. By improving our understanding of the demand for skills and the role profiles that will be required going forward, our colleges, universities and private training providers with the skills sector will be able to collaborate with our enterprise and skills agencies and react appropriately and comprehensively to industry requirements – ensuring maximum benefit to Scotland's economy, especially in coastal and rural areas, where viable employment is crucial to the local communities.
124. We know that we must continue to increase gender diversity and BAME representation throughout the sector, and recognise the challenges in recruitment, and we are ensuring, through SOWEC, that our ambitions are in line with UK Sector Deal Targets.
125. Schools must lead by example to educate children on the vast array of jobs included within the sector, ensuring that children from all backgrounds consider offshore wind as a viable career option. Industry must also recognise these targets and ensure they are considered within their recruitment processes.
126. The Scottish Government and SOWEC will continue to participate in the UK Investment in Talent Group to ensure that Scotland's unique skills system is recognised and reflected when developing skills interventions intended for use across the UK.