It is intended that the Fund, totaling £200,000 over 20 years, will help to retain high achieving and talented students in the region, encourage them to study locally and to live and work locally upon graduation, while developing the talent that is needed to mitigate the substantial skills gap within the energy sector.
The fund will be awarded to one University of the Highlands and Islands' student every year and will help to cover the costs associated with their studies, including books, accommodation and meals, should the partnership be awarded an option as part of the forthcoming ScotWind leasing announcement.
Carolyn Heeps, Head of Offshore Wind at Fred. Olsen Renewables commented,"We have been working with the university to develop a bursary program that will help to retain talent from the Highlands and Islands, encourage them to study locally and ultimately enter into the workforce locally.
"With considerable and vast renewables potential, Scotland needs a highly skilled workforce to support the development of our future sustainable projects. We hope that this scheme will support those entering into higher education and encourage them to carve out a career in renewables, supporting the future leaders of renewables today."
The Future Leaders bursary program will seek out talented students on an annual basis. In addition to funding these students, the partnership is also committed to helping them explore future employment opportunities. This will complement the work of the partnership to support the just transition of existing workers in the region.
Alison Wilson, Head of Development at the University of the Highlands and Islands, said, "We are excited about the prospect of working in partnership with Fred. Olsen Renewables and Vattenfall to support future engineering students looking for a career in renewables in the Highlands and Islands. Should the partnership be awarded an option as part of the forthcoming ScotWind leasing announcement, this Gift Agreement will secure the university's single largest bursary fund donation to date and will provide an amazing opportunity for our young people within the region."