Workforce support for renewable energy training still needed as transition training fund closes

Despite Scotland’s Transition Training Fund closing, trainees still need support for retraining to be able transfer their skills to new energy sectors and develop new careers says provider of rotor blade repair and maintenance technician training Altitec.
Workforce support for renewable energy training still needed as transition training fund closes

Altitec has highlighted the need for continued support for skilled workers eager to develop careers in the renewable energy industry, given that funding for training in Scotland will end on March 31st 2019 while the demand from skilled workers to transition to sustainable careers in the renewables sector will not..

Since 2016, the Transition Training Fund, has allowed Scottish residents working in the oil and gas sector to fund re-train in other sectors, but this will close at the end of March, or when the £12 million funding runs out – whichever comes first. Re-training for a career in a sustainable sector like the wind energy industry is not a small investment for the average worker. The cost of a training course and any subsistence can often be as much as or more than a month’s salary. However, the prospective pay-off, new skills to apply to a career in a sustainable sector, is appealing.

Since 2016, Altitec has graduated 60 – 80 people a year to work in the wind energy sector globally. A growing clean energy sector has a continuing need for highly skilled technicians; and workers with inspection and maintenance skills acquired in other industries will be well suite. But caution is recommended for workers looking for courses.

“There is a wide range of courses out there supposedly teaching the skills necessary to transition into the wind sector” said Drew Sampson, Operations Manager of Altitec. “But as a service provider, as well as a training provider, we have had to send a number of technicians supposedly qualified by other training providers back to school in recent months. Investing in the right course, that will deliver the right skills, is essential. Very high performing technicians and skilled workers are transitioning into a sustainable industry and have used this funding to not only retrain but transfer their existing skills into a new career. Without funding support, this transition takes much longer, and may not be as effective.”

It is important that the government provides clarity on how it will continue to support skilled workers looking to transition into renewable energy and sustainable jobs, but the renewable energy market should also not wait around for government funding and support. Training providers should be taking action to train up a workforce to work in a sustainable and thriving industry. It is no secret that wind energy can provide opportunities for highly-skilled technicians – but the country now needs to enable the transitioning.

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