Developers behind the plans for an energy transition zone (ETZ) in Aberdeen have announced the establishment of a skills and training partnership for jobs in the emerging net-zero energy industry.
A number of partners have joined forces to establish the National Energy Skills Accelerator (NESA), which is expected to provide a “one stop shop” for industry to access courses, skills development programmes and R&D capabilities to train workers for the energy transition.
NESA will form part of the ETZ in Aberdeen, which is being earmarked for land next to the £350 million South Harbour. The ETZ project has secured nearly £80m in government funding, including £26m from the Scottish Government’s energy transition fund announced earlier this month.
The NESA is a collaboration between Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen University and the North East Scotland College, supported by government agency Skills Development Scotland (SDS) and Energy Transition Zone Ltd, the company leading the development of the ETZ.
Paul de Leeuw, director of the Energy Transition Institute at RGU, is also chairman of the NESA development board. He said the NESA was a “collaborative umbrella organisation” that would help to reduce “duplication” by “enabling partners to work better with industry to promote, align and deliver skills development offerings and programmes responsive to industry needs”.
The establishment of the new body comes in the wake of criticism by trade unions and environmental campaign group, Greenpeace, that the oil and gas industry was failing to support workers to acquire the skills needed to work in cleaner and renewable energy sectors.
Mr de Leeuw said: “The energy transition will require the creation of a more flexible, more agile and more diverse energy workforce. NESA can play a critical role to ensure the industry has access to the key skills and capabilities required.
“Building on the 50-plus- year track record in each of the partner institutions, NESA will be able to support a wide range of organisations, in the UK and globally. NESA will also play a key role to help the existing oil and gas workforce to prepare for emerging opportunities in adjacent energy sectors.
Professor Steve Olivier, principal of RGU, said: “The development of NESA is a very important step in ensuring the region is equipped with the skilled professionals we will need as we take strides towards the country’s net-zero ambitions.
“This is a great example of how industry and academia can work in collaboration for the benefit of our region.”
Neil Cowie, principal and chief executive of Nescol, said: “NESA is an excellent example of partnership working at its very best and will, undoubtedly, assist us to contribute successfully to the future recovery, transition and prosperity of the region’s economy.”
Maggie McGinlay, who was recently announced as chief executive of Energy Transition Zone Ltd, said: “ETZ will support 2,500 direct jobs, with a further 10,000 energy transition-related jobs across the region. It is crucial we ensure we equip our current workforce and future generations with the skills necessary to take advantage of the wide range of opportunities energy transition will bring.”