Scottish Power to create 300 new jobs

Company says the  majority of these jobs will be in Scotland

After the downbeat announcement from SSE regarding perceived increased investment risk associated with the independence debate and the depressing anti-wind Tory backlash, the announcement today by Scottish Power of the imminent creation of 300 new jobs has come as a breath of fresh air to the Scottish renewables industry.

Grid improvements will increase renewables access ScottishPower expects to invest over £5bn to upgrade the electricity network in central and southern Scotland over the next 10 years, and is launching a recruitment drive to boost its engineering and technical workforce by creating 300 new roles. It is anticipated there will be around 50 new apprenticeships created and the graduate programme will look to take in at least 50 new graduates by 2013. ScottishPower Chairman Ignacio Galán made the announcement today at the company’s training headquarters in Cumbernauld with First Minister Alex Salmond.

ScottishPower needs the new generation of engineers to deliver the most important upgrades to the electricity network in over half a century, but at the same time the energy industry is facing an impending skills gap. To address this skills gap , ScottishPower is also investing £6.5 million in grassroots skills development between 2011 and 2013. This investment will range from developing pre-apprentice schools programmes, to establishing technical partnerships with colleges and universities, all the way through to the sponsorship of specialist post graduate scholarships.

Ignacio Galán, Chairman of ScottishPower, said: “The move to the low carbon economy, from modern and efficient electricity networks to new renewable energy generation will be a catalyst for economic growth and job creation. Overall, we are projecting investments totaling £12 billion in the UK over the course of this decade and it is vital we do all that we can to encourage people to develop the skills required to take advantage of these investments.

“We are announcing 300 skilled jobs today, in an industry where workers will have lifelong development opportunities. Our aim is to ensure that school children and those at college and university see this kind of skilled employment as an attractive option. Engineers are retiring every day and we want to see the next generation of workers knocking on our door to fill their places.

“We were encouraged that the Scottish Government recently announced their desire to deliver 25,000 modern apprenticeships each year as part of their Youth Employment Strategy. This will certainly be part of the solution to help an industry like ours bridge its skills gap.”

First Minister Alex Salmond said: “Three hundred new high-skilled jobs for Scotland’s energy sector is very encouraging news indeed. Scottish Power’s £6.5 million commitment is further proof of the continued long term investment by global companies in Scotland’s fast growing renewables industry.

“Scotland’s energy sector has the potential to reindustrialise this country and provide work for tens of thousands of Scots in the years to come. This kind of investment in training is critical to create the new generation of skilled workers to power our low carbon future – and it’s something that is also a top priority for the Scottish Government.

Frank Mitchell, CEO of ScottishPower Energy Networks, said: “The search starts today. We need 300 power engineers of all levels and experience to begin working on some of our major projects that will completely modernise the electricity grid in Scotland. In order to fill these positions we will also be seeking to hire workers from other industries, including the offshore sector and the armed forces and offering to retrain them.

“In the longer term, we will need many more workers to join our industry straight from school or university. As well as investing more than £6m on grassroots skills development, we will be working closely with the Government and with educational establishments in the coming years to encourage the development of more engineers.”