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Expo event to showcase green economy careers for Highland youngsters


By Gregor White

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The logo for the expo event was designed by second year Invergordon Academy pupil Amelia Kostek.
The logo for the expo event was designed by second year Invergordon Academy pupil Amelia Kostek.

Green career opportunities are to be highlighted to young people across the region in a new, first of its kind event.

Under the auspices of Developing the Young Workforce Inverness & Central Highlands (DYWICH) the Green Careers Expo 2024 will be held on February 27 at Alness Academy, bringing together a wide range of employers, training providers, educational institutions, and partners to inspire the next generation.

Sponsored by SSE Renewables, RI Cruden, Buchan Offshore Wind, Inverness & Cromarty Firth Green Port and Scottish & Southern Electricity Networks, it is expected to be attended by several hundred pupils ggiving them the chance to ask the experts about the variety of training and careers available both now and in the future, as well as developments taking place in the industry.

Alongside presentations from sponsor organisations there will be a range of exhibitors and hands-on, interactive activities.

Liz Fletcher, DYWICH programme manager, said: “As Scotland transitions to Net-Zero, and with the huge number of jobs being created by the new Green Freeport, the opportunities for young people in the green jobs and skills cannot be underestimated.

“Added to that, there are more employers looking to deliver their own green strategies, shape a sustainably skilled workforce and provide training opportunities to build a pipeline of talent for the future.

“This event is an ideal opportunity for young people to hear directly from businesses who want to get them excited about future careers in the industry. It will also give schools and teachers the chance to see the variety of pathways available and how to help their students achieve their goals.

“And of course, parents and wider community are welcome to come along to the public session to find out more for themselves.”

“We would like to extend a big thank you to our partner, Skills Development Scotland, and our sponsors for their support in enabling this event to take place.”

Published in December 2020, the Climate Emergency Skills Action Plan sets out the Scottish Government’s plan to maximise the transition to net-zero for Scotland, ensuring that Scotland’s workforce has the skills required to make the transition to net-zero a just transition, fair and inclusive to all. Demand for green jobs and green skills is expected to increase rapidly because of policy and legislative drivers and consumer choice.

Sponsors of the inaugural Green Careers Expo 2024, and partner Skills Development Scotland, see this as an extremely important event.

Anthony Standing, head of operations, North Region at Skills Development Scotland, said: “We are delighted to be part of this event and to help the attendees find out all about the variety of opportunities in this field and inspire them for their futures. This is a great chance for people of all ages to find out about the exciting green careers available in Scotland right now, and the skills you might need to get one.”

Calum MacPherson, chief executive of Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport, who’ll also be officially opening the event, said: “The Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport is a partnership of around 30 organisations working together to create a Green Freeport in the Highlands.

“Partners include the main Ports around Inverness & Cromarty Firth, Highland Council, HIE and other regional and national businesses, academia and the public sector. The primary objective is to create employment, attract inward investment, maximise the local supply chain benefits, and to position the Highlands at the heart of the country’s commitment to becoming a net-zero economy. The Green Freeport will become one of the largest green energy hubs in Europe. This represents an opportunity to transform the region in terms of population retention and economic growth, and to provide future generations with an improved environment and job opportunities.”

Alasdair MacLeod, project director at Buchan Offshore Wind, said: “Large scale offshore projects, such as Buchan Offshore Wind, are essential to our transition to cleaner, renewable sources of domestic energy. A skilled workforce across the Highlands will be key to bringing Scotland to the forefront of green energy in the UK. We are delighted to support DYWICH and the Green Careers Expo, which will show the next generation of skilled workers what opportunities the Scottish renewables industry can offer them.”

Rob McDonald, managing director of SSEN Transmission said: “Our £20bn investment programme will help unlock a cleaner, more secure energy for homes and businesses for generations to come. The north of Scotland is set to play a leading role in delivering UK and Scottish Government net zero targets. This will enable thousands of skilled, green jobs, placing multi-million-pound contracts with local supply chain partners and investing in community funds - creating billions of economic value for Scotland.”

Eilidh Edgar, SSE Renewables stakeholder engagement manager said: “Having recently transitioned into the green sector myself, it is an exciting time to join. With an exceptionally strong pipeline of work in Onshore, Offshore, Hydro and Solar & Battery, there is plenty of opportunities for young people with different career aspirations looking towards working in this sector, whilst living in the Highlands. We are delighted to sponsor and showcase the work we deliver and hopefully inspire the next generation, to come on board and help achieve Scotland’s Net Zero ambitions.”

Callum Cruden, Director of RI Cruden said: “We are thrilled to partner again with DYW for this careers event, underscoring our commitment to talent development and sustainability in the Highlands. Through our award-winning RI Cruden apprenticeship and graduate programs, we believe in inspiring and equipping young people with the tools needed to thrive in the renewable energy sector, thereby laying the groundwork for a greener, more sustainable tomorrow.”


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