Scotland’s first net zero scholarship students share their experiences

January 30, 2023

A group of students training to be the next generation of wind engineers have shared their experiences of a new scholarship.

They met with Chris Claydon, Chief Executive of Government skills body the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB), to provide their insight.

The first cohort of the Wind Turbine Technician Pathway began their studies last September at NESCol.

Created by the ECITB to address workforce shortages in key engineering roles, the initiative provides technical training to young engineers starting their careers in the energy sector. It is supported by a £74,000 grant from the city’s Energy Transition Zone (ETZ), the not-for-profit company tasked with spearheading the North-east’s energy transition ambition.

The scholars each receive a £100-a-week learner allowance 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.

Chris, who met the students during a workshop at the College’s Clinterty Campus, said: “It was great to meet up with the students today and to see them in action. I was very impressed with the depth of knowledge they all demonstrated having just started their studies in September.

“It is important that we invest in the training and retention of skilled engineers to meet the growing need in Aberdeen and the North-east. This course is part of a wider programme we have to support Just Transition, as activities to achieve carbon net zero by 2045 accelerate.

“The ECITB is working closely with employers in both the oil and gas, and renewables sectors to identify opportunities to address the energy transition. Having the ETZ recognise and support the scholarship programme has been invaluable, as has the support of NESCol in its delivery of the training.”

ETZ Ltd Offshore Renewables Director Andy Rodden said: “Providing individuals with the technical skills required to support the rapid growth of the offshore wind sector is absolutely vital if this region is to capitalise on this massive opportunity.

“ETZ Ltd is delighted to support ECITB in delivering programmes such as the Wind Technician Pathway, which will equip scholars with the necessary engineering knowledge, and it is encouraging to see this progressing at pace.”

Susan Grant, NESCol Associate Vice Principal, said: “Energy transition is integral to the North-east economy and it’s essential to develop a workforce equipped with the skills and knowledge to embrace exciting opportunities.

“We have worked closely with the ECITB to create innovative scholarship programmes and it is encouraging to see the momentum that is building.”

Applications are now open for 2023/24 scholarships, with the Energy Transfer Pathway being offered at NESCol. Find out more here.