Scotland reveals green investment portfolio plans
A total of ten projects have been unveiled for Scotland, as part of the nation’s new green investment plan. The schemes vary from various low-carbon solutions to eco-friendly and recycling schemes.
Some of the largest schemes include a £250mn hydrogen infrastructure programme in one of Scotland’s largest settlements, Aberdeen. In addition, the nation has made plans for a £200mn green business park, which will be the first of its kind in the nation.
A low-carbon renewable energy park is also included in the portfolio in addition to a £3mn plastics recycling facility, which is to be located in Perthshire.
New infrastructure for electric-vehicle charging is also included in the plans, with a company called Forev focused on the development and maintenance of a number of public charge-points. This will further encourage the nation’s motorists and visitors to switch to greener transport alternatives.
The plan is set to bring Scotland closer to its goal of becoming a net-zero nation by 2045. In addition to this £1.16bn scheme, a total of £3bn-worth of projects are in the pipeline for the nation, awaiting green finance investment.
The plans are set to benefit Scotland’s construction sector.
Fiona Hyslop, Economy Secretary, explained: “Worth around £300 trillion globally, we know that the market for green finance is burgeoning and Scotland's natural assets and reputation for innovation make it a highly attractive place for that investment.”
“We know investors need credible projects that reduce emissions to match their own green ambitions. By assessing these projects before they go to market, the Green Investment Portfolio gives global investors the confidence they need to back projects in Scotland.
She then went on to say: “The range of opportunities within this portfolio will expand over time to include £3 billion of projects ready for green finance investment, covering sectors from environmentally sustainable commercial real estate to low emission transportation and green energy.”
“Working in partnership with business, we are committed to ensuring that economic growth promotes happiness and improves the opportunities, life chances, and wellbeing of every citizen in our country.”
Additional investments are also planned including a £100mn fund for green jobs and a further £60mn for the decarbonisation of the industrial and manufacturing sectors within the nation.
David Stirling, Director of Mossend International Railfreight Park operator Peter D Stirling Ltd, said: “We are fully supportive of the Scottish Government’s target to achieve net-zero emissions by 2045 and indeed are contributing to this by providing Scotland’s largest zero-carbon, multi-modal rail freight park. The Green Investment Portfolio is a valuable tool to help us reach out to global investors.”
“With future plans including Scotland’s first 775-metre electric rail terminal, we hope to benefit many local businesses as well as those based across Europe and beyond.”
Apprenticeships can bridge skills gap says Autodesk director
The UK construction industry needs 216,800 new workers by 2025 to meet rising demand, according to the Construction Skills Network published by CITB.
Even before Covid-19, it was estimated it needs to attract 400,000 new recruits each year to meet the UK’s infrastructure needs.
But given one in three current construction employees are over 50 there is predicted to be a 20-25% decline in the available workforce over the next decade. And with end of the free movement of people from the EU, it has further limited access to skilled talent.
Mike Pettinella, Director, Autodesk Construction Solutions EMEA, believes the solution may be one that is hardly new, but might have taken a back seat during the pandemic.
"Apprenticeships could help us bridge the construction skills gap and meet this rapidly rising demand, and attract a new crop of younger talent to the industry," he said.
"Apprenticeships benefit everyone. For candidates, it’s an opportunity to learn valuable skills without incurring thousands of pounds of student debts. For employers, it’s a chance to train up employees in the competencies that are really needed – combining technical knowledge with collaboration and team work, which are equally important as you enter a new industry. And if you’re a larger company and already required to pay the apprenticeship levy, it makes sense to ensure you’re benefitting from the scheme too."
Marshall Construction recently took on nine new apprenticeships covering various roles. "Some of our previous apprentices have left and started their own businesses, which sets them up for life," said Chairman Robert Marshall. "Most of our current managers came from organic growth within the business whom we have trained to our own standards." Firms such as Barnwood Construction and Keepmoat Homes are also advertising and supporting apprenticeships.
According to the CSN, most English regions will experience an increase in construction workers by 2025, with East Midlands (1.7%) and West Midlands (1.4%) forecast to lead demand. Scotland (1.4%) and Wales (0.7%) are also predicted to fare well. The only region forecast to see a slight decline in workforce is the North East (-0.1%).
Major projects such as HS2 are driving growth in some regions and infrastructure (5.2%) and private housing (6.7%) should see the healthiest pace of expansion by 2025.
The impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on the future shape of work will be profound. Modelling by the McKinsey Global Institute on the effects of technology adoption on the UK workforce shows that up to 10 million people, or around 30 percent of all UK workers, may need to transition between occupations or skill levels by 2030.