SSE and the University of Highlands and Islands have today signed a ‘partnership agreement’ to collaborate and work together to maximise the benefits to the people of the Highlands and Islands from the low carbon energy revolution in the Highlands and Islands.
Speaking at the University’s Research and Development conference Ian Marchant, Chief Executive of SSE - Scotland’s leading renewable energy generator and developer – will also set out a range of commitments to support this, including a new apprenticeship programme and a commitment to target local areas around proposed new developments for the recruitment and training of future employees, particularly in Caithness and Sutherland and in the Great Glen.
There is significant investment planned by the energy industry over the next ten years. SSE’s contribution to this could potentially be £5-10bn in the Highlands and Islands alone, across its energy networks, renewable generation and energy services businesses.
The partnership agreement establishes a new steering group to oversee this collaboration between SSE and the University and to ensure local businesses and communities are also engaged.
Key areas for collaboration and opportunity exist both in creating the right training infrastructure and in promoting innovation and research. The partnership will build on the £3m that SSE has already committed to training and skills in the Highlands.
Welcoming the partnership, University of the Highlands and Islands Principal and Vice-Chancellor, James Fraser said: “The University is delighted to sign this collaborative agreement with SSE.
“The University partnership of 13 colleges and research centres is unique in encompassing both further and higher education and in covering the whole of the Highlands and Islands, including Moray, Perth and Kinross.
“SSE and its supply chain need highly trained staff. We can help deliver these skills through our collective expertise in further education and knowledge from higher education.
“The University is ready to play a key role in supporting the transformation of the Highlands and Islands economy through the development of the renewable energy industry, the electricity grid and the continued progress of oil and gas.”