There is the potential to create at least 40,000 job opportunities in the renewable energy sector by 2020

The Alliance of Sector Skills Councils in Scotland, the body which is responsible for representing employers on skills issues, has welcomed the Scottish Government’s publication of its ‘Renewables Routemap’.

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The ‘Routemap’ outlines the necessary steps needed to capitalise on the enormous economic potential of Scotland’s green energy capacity and to meet ambitious targets, including supplying 100% of electricity demand equivalent from renewables by 2020. In addition, the plan sets new targets to meet 30% of overall energy demand from renewables by 2020.

There is the potential to create at least 40,000 job opportunities in the renewable energy sector by 2020 (as outlined in the Skills Investment Plan for the Energy Sector) and this will require a considerable upskilling and reskilling of the workforce to ensure that there is adequate supply to meet this green energy demand.

Next steps as proposed by the Scottish Government include:

· Influencing Curriculum for Excellence to include ‘renewables’ topics in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects.

· Creating a ‘national offering’ of resources to support careers interest in renewables.

· Developing an Energy Skills Gateway which will include a database for training provision to be linked to other employer portals.

· Engaging with business to identify future skills needs.

· Increasing skills focus in Microgeneration.

· Monitoring for gaps in qualification provision.

Jacqui Hepburn, Director of the Alliance for Sector Skills Councils in Scotland, commented:

“It is clear that the renewable energy industry offers huge potential for future employment and economic growth in Scotland. The Scottish Government is to be commended for recognising this potential and for planning ahead to make it happen, especially when it comes to filling gaps in skills provision.

“The next few years will be crucial since many of these industries may not truly begin to take off until the middle of the decade. By that point, we need to have in place enough people with the right skills to meet a major spike in labour demand.

“An emerging new industry such as renewable energy needs to be nurtured, and putting in place the right skills, in the right place, at the right time and in the right numbers is absolutely vital.”

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