A scholarship to equip the next generation of engineers for the energy transition will be launched in Aberdeen on Thursday at North East Scotland College (NESCol).
The ECITB Energy Transfer Technician Scholarship will provide technical training for young engineers starting their careers in the energy sector, and has been backed by a £100,000 grant from the city’s Energy Transition Zone (ETZ).
Recipients will receive a £100-a-week grant to develop their engineering knowledge and skills as well as an understanding of the new technologies essential to the successful delivery of net zero, including digital skills.
The scheme has been spearheaded by the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB), a government skills body, to address workforce shortages in key engineering roles.
The first cohort of scholars will start at NESCol in September, consisting of ten wind turbine technicians and twelve energy transfer technicians.
In total, 112 scholarship places have been announced across the UK for September 2022, including 52 on pathways specifically focused on supporting the delivery of the energy transition.
The programme is currently delivered by training providers at 11 locations across England, Scotland, and Wales, with two new centres due to come online by September.
Maggie McGinlay, chief executive of ETZ Ltd – the not-for-profit entity behind the zone’s development – said the scholarships were “hugely welcome programmes” providing “necessary skills” to take advantage of the wide range of opportunities presented by the energy transition.
“Programmes such as these are a crucial component of the regional ambition to be at the very forefront of energy transition and ETZ Ltd is therefore delighted to support this valuable initiative,” Ms McGinlay added.
ECITB chief executive Chris Claydon said Aberdeen was the “obvious location” for the first scholarships of their kind in Scotland.
“There are a number of challenges facing the engineering construction industry in Aberdeen and the north east, with growing skills shortages and the need to find and retain skilled engineers probably the most pressing,” he added.
“The ECITB is working closely with employers in both the oil and gas and renewables sectors to identify opportunities to address these issues. I am really pleased the ETZ has recognised the value of the scholarship programme and partnered with the ECITB and NESCol to deliver this important training.
“This launch is a very exciting development, not just for the city but for the engineering construction industry as a whole. It is vital that we invest now to attract new entrants to the industry, to meet workforce needs as energy transition activities are accelerated.”
Susan Grant, NESCol associate vice principal for curriculum, planning and partnerships, said the college was committed to playing a leading role in developing these skills.
“We are delighted to be working with ECITB and ETZ to deliver the scholarships and to provide a new pathway for the next generation of engineers as they take their first steps towards sustainable and rewarding careers,” she continued.
“This investment in the workforce of the future is very welcome as part of the College’s wider focus on green energy, working closely with industry partners to support a rapidly evolving sector.”
Earlier this year ETZ also launched an SME Future Energy Skills Grant programme, providing up to £10,000 for small and medium-sized enterprises in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire to upskill existing employees or train new ones in future energy skills.
So far the ECITB scholarship programme has prepared 260 students for careers in the engineering construction industry since its inception in 2020.
The programme, which lasts 1-2 years, delivers training focused on regional skills shortages. Scholars who complete the programme possess the foundation skills to move into apprenticeships and employment in industry.
Find out more about the ECITB scholarship at ecitb.org.uk/ecitb-scholarships/.