The energy industry is set to change drastically in the coming years, as new technologies designed to reduce carbon emissions are introduced into the production and distribution of electricity. This comes at a time when four out of five energy industry employees set to retire over the next 15 years*. ScottishPower is stressing the need for new engineers to come into the industry who are equipped to help deliver these major changes.
It is estimated that £200 billion will be invested in energy infrastructure in the UK by 2020. This will include an expansion in renewable energy projects, such as wind, wave and tidal schemes. It will also see the development of carbon capture and storage (CCS), to reduce emissions from traditional power plants, and Smart Grid programmes, to modernise and improve the efficiency of the electricity network.
The energy industry is working hard to establish relationships with Schools, Colleges and Universities to help encourage and inspire the next generation of engineers. ScottishPower works with a range of age groups to help promote careers in the energy sector at all levels.
Through its parent company, Iberdrola, it also promotes a scholarship programme to help address the emerging needs and skills of the energy industry. The programme is designed to contribute to excellence in training in the fields of energy, with a focus on environmental protection as well as the development of low carbon technologies and a sustainable energy model.
Last year, the Iberdrola Foundation awarded scholarships to students from Scotland such as Catherine Thomson, studying MSc Electrical Power Engineering at the University of Strathclyde and Katie Vowles, studying MSc Carbon Capture and Storage at the University of Edinburgh. Further scholarships will be awarded to students at Scottish Universities this year.
Frank Mitchell, Director of ScottishPower Energy Networks, said: “The energy sector is investing billions of pounds to modernise infrastructure and to reduce carbon emissions in the coming years. We are also investing heavily in the people who will be needed to deliver this work. With many of our current engineers due to retire in the next few decades, there is a potential skills gap emerging in this sector.
“ScottishPower is at the forefront of many of the new developments in sustainable engineering and we are working closely with educational establishments to promote the career opportunities in our industry. Scotland and the UK has a proud history of leading the world in engineering innovation and we want to encourage younger generations to take up relevant courses and grasp the opportunities that will be available as we move to a low carbon economy.”
*Figures from the National Skills Academy for Power (NSAP)
Media Information: Paul Ferguson, 0141 566 4515 / 07702 665 924