Greens demand widespread renewable retraining to "tap into energy potential"

In response to North Sea job losses, Scottish Greens urge widespread renewable engineering

THE Scottish Greens have urged the Scottish Government to go further to pre-empt oil and gas industry decline, but welcomed the creation of 340 training course places in the renewables sector.

The courses were made possible by the Transition Training Fund (TTF), to help fossil fuel industry workers enter new renewable sectors.

Workers have been forced to leave the currently declining oil and gas sector and have been offered the chance to retrain for work in clean energy industries, under a new training scheme funded by the Scottish Government.

Speaking to CommonSpace, Green MSP John Finnie said: "Building Scotland’s energy future on oil and gas alone is no longer an option and whether we like it or not, the fossil fuel industry will decline. 

"However, it doesn’t have to be a similar story to the former steel towns of the Central Belt, so long as we have a plan for what comes next.

 "Building Scotland’s energy future on oil and gas alone is no longer an option and whether we like it or not, the fossil fuel industry will decline." John Finnie MSP

“This will be welcome news for some of the workers in the sector, but considering Scotland has a quarter of the European Union’s entire offshore wind and marine energy potential, and perhaps the greatest offshore engineering tradition in the world, we need to be doing so much more to tap into our energy potential.

“Greens have long argued for plans to be drawn up to move away from our over-reliance on fossil fuels, and it's a shame it's taken devastating job losses in the North Sea to prompt action."

The training courses became viable because of Danish conglomerate Maersk and Inverness College UHI offering renewables training and development of skills for the electrical, solar, biomass or heat pump sectors.

Lee Atkinson, head of sales and marketing at Maersk Training, said: "There is high demand for clean energy workers in Scotland. 

"With new wind projects under development in Scotland, and a shortage of operations and maintenance technicians, it is an opportune time for individuals to transition from the oil and gas sector."

The announcement came amid concerns over loss of profits in the sector and industrial unrest with strikes being called by platform workers. 

The fall in commodity prices for oil and gas has hit the Scottish oil and gas sector hard, with data from Shell suggesting that more than 65,000 jobs have already been lost in the sector. 

"With new wind projects under development in Scotland, and a shortage of operations and maintenance technicians, it is an opportune time for individuals to transition from the oil and gas sector." Lee Atkinson

CommonSpace recently covered the first strike in almost 30 years by Shell workers who are protesting over pay, conditions and reduction of wages by up to 30 per cent.

Moreover, CommonSpace has also reported new investments by firms such as Vattenfall, which have added to Scotland already becoming a hub of clean energy generation, generating just under half of all the renewable electricity produced in the UK.

Atkinson added: "The Transition Training Fund aims to help retain the wealth of skills and experience developed by our oil and gas industry and to redeploy it in other sectors.

"This element of the fund allows training providers to help people move into a number of growth areas where there is a demand for skills, and it represents a real opportunity for people affected by redundancy to launch a new career."

Picture courtesy of Maersk Line

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