Orkney’s manufacturing businesses will be the first in Scotland to benefit from new sustainable manufacturing hubs, helping them strengthen employees’ knowledge of environmental matters and achieve net-zero status.
Set to open this year, the new hubs, led by the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS), operated by the University of Strathclyde, will support organisations to lower their carbon footprint, upskill their workforce and enhance competitiveness, with the first to be piloted in Orkney.
All Orcadians, including local businesses, from boat builders to gin distillers and jewellers, will be eligible, with the hubs offering training courses, expert guidance, and Streamlined Energy & Carbon Reporting (SECR) accreditation, which is becoming essential for businesses as Scotland targets net-zero by 2045.
Joining forces with Net Zero Nation (NZN), the NMIS Manufacturing Skills Academy will subsidise the cost required to join the hubs.
The Manufacturing Skills Academy, which aims to transform the workforce of today and tomorrow by providing upskilling opportunities and support to both individuals and organisations, plans to open future hubs within other communities in Scotland later in the year.
The hub will be supported by Skills Development Scotland (SDS), ASPIRE Orkney, University of Highlands and Islands, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and European Marine Energy Centre.
It will be part funded by the Scottish Government and the Scottish Funding Council’s National Transition Training Fund (NTTF).
Orkney has been leading the way in Scottish renewable energy and is responsible for generating 120% of its own electricity through wind power.
This year Scapa Flow was announced as a future site for offshore wind farm development in Crown Estate Scotland’s ScotWind project.
Stewart McKinlay, Skills Director at the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland’s Manufacturing Skills Academy, said:
“Reskilling and upskilling has become incredibly challenging across industry – particularly during the pandemic where the workforce has undergone enormous changes and businesses have been faced with unrelenting pressure that has often pushed net-zero goals down the priority list.
“To help overcome skills gaps within the national transition to net-zero, this community-based programme is helping us understand and address the regional challenges faced by local communities, working in tandem with organisations to help them realise the commercial opportunities from accreditation and the implementation of audited carbon accounts.
“Through collaboration with the hubs, businesses will be supported to develop strong sustainable brands to attract customers and future workforces, enhancing business operations and its impact on people, the planet, and profit.”
Luke Fraser, Programme Manager at ASPIRE Orkney, commented:
“After a difficult few years, we need to collectively work together to create a different kind of economic model which benefits the whole community.
“Delivering this opportunity will require bold, innovative, collective leadership and action from businesses, the community and the public sector.
“The new hubs offer an excellent opportunity for our companies to embrace net-zero, supporting Scotland’s overall goals whilst realising the economic benefits more sustainable practices can have upon their operations.”
Gavin Tweedie, co-founder and chairman at Net Zero Nation, added:
“We are delighted to be supporting the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland’s leadership in enabling a just transition to net-zero.
“We firmly believe that a community-led approach offering ongoing learning and support for businesses is the best way to support progress and strengthen the Scottish Manufacturing sector.”