David Bowie – Head of Technical Training, ScottishPower
I started my career at ScottishPower working at Cockenzie Power Station, and then in Scotland’s largest power station, Longannet, as the Coal and Ash Operations Manager. At the time, my main responsibility was to manage and coordinate the movement and blending of millions of tonnes of coal per year.
It was only 15 years ago, but it feels like an entirely different era for our industry, especially since my role now - as Head of Technical Training at ScottishPower - involves overseeing the training of employees who will go on to lead in the production of green energy.
In recent years, we’ve seen a huge shift in both the practicalities of energy production, and the infrastructure that make it possible. My role at ScottishPower has allowed me to witness that change first-hand while also taking a lead in training-up our next generation of green recruits.
From a practical standpoint, the closures of coal-operated sites has taken us from running a handful of large power stations, to operating a huge volume of renewable generation sites spread far and wide. This in turn means there is now a greater requirement for information-gathering, control and smart technologies within our internal infrastructure, and teams to manage all of that – making this a core part of our training initiatives.
ScottishPower is leading the way in the development of renewable and other low carbon technologies. We have an incredibly talented workforce and with the pace of change, training is really important. We try to give a mix of operational support, tech knowledge and improvements to our control processes, digital infrastructure and automation of our processes.
Most of our training takes place in person but in recent times, one of the biggest shifts in our colleague training programmes has been the move towards increased digital learning. This has been something that we’ve continued in a post-Covid world due to the obvious advantage for both the business and trainees that comes from removing geographical limitations.
The tools and training provided within our ScottishPower team equip staff with a wide range of knowledge and insight, setting them up with the skillsets needed for long-term careers in the industry and indeed across the ScottishPower group.
Time has moved on since I began my career, and with it, so too has our understanding of the importance of clean, renewable energy. The demolition of Longannet’s iconic chimney last year was a move that solidifies Scotland’s transition to a greener future, and I believe we’re well on our way to achieving that.
The changes I’ve seen since starting my career are truly remarkable. Personally, I have moved from shifting trainloads of coal around the country to managing the delivery of training on low and zero carbon technologies. It’s incredibly inspiring to think what the next generation of the green workforce will experience as the country becomes greener and cleaner.