WANTED – many more engineers to fill Scotland’s new renewable energy jobs

Renewable energy engineersA major new report has found renewable energy companies in Scotland are in need of more engineers to fulfil their future ambitions.

Scottish Renewables commissioned independent researchers to survey more than 540 companies in what is the most comprehensive jobs study to date.

Of those companies who were able to identify skills gaps more than a third (35%) said they were in need of more graduate level engineers, a further 30% said technician engineers, and 28% said they needed more instrumentation and construction engineers.

Joss Blamire, Senior Policy Manager, Scottish Renewables, said: “The message coming from renewable energy companies is loud and clear – we need more engineers to bring their skills and training experience into the sector.

Welcoming the report, Rob Orr, Strategic Relations Manager for Energy at Skills Development Scotland, commented: “Since 2011, we have seen significant increases in students entering university to undertake engineering courses, as well as focused college provision including specific wind turbine technician courses across the country.

“In addition, it is encouraging to note that the take-up of Modern Apprenticeships in engineering and energy-related subjects has increased by 35%.

“It is vitally important that we continue to work with industry to understand future growth aspirations and skills requirements which attract young people and those with transferable skills to the sector.”

Bryan Buchan, Chief Executive, Scottish Engineering, said the findings reinforced the need for “urgent government action” to investment in apprenticeships.

He said: “The position of the renewables industry is familiar territory for Scottish Engineering and its members. We have been campaigning for years regarding skills shortages that continue to inhibit growth but thankfully we are now seeing practical responses come through with initiatives on the part of individual member companies and undertakings such as the Engineering Academy led by Strathclyde University.

“Official figures tend to highlight the number of apprenticeships being undertaken rather than the various disciplines in which they are based. This can, in some cases come down to cost, with an engineering apprenticeship costing as much as £50,000 to complete.

“Many of our member companies are directly involved in various aspects of the renewables industry but we see considerable potential for a fuller contribution from the established indigenous engineering sector.”

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