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Chamber and committees

Question reference: S6W-03774

  • Asked by: Liam Kerr, MSP for North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
  • Date lodged: 14 October 2021
  • Current status: Answered by Patrick Harvie on 11 November 2021


To ask the Scottish Government, regarding its Heat in Buildings Strategy, what it is doing to ensure that colleges and schools have sufficient trained professionals to teach the skills required to deliver the strategy; what planning is taking place to create and provide such courses; what it is doing to encourage potential students to undertake such training; what it estimates the cost will be to local authorities of providing such training; where it anticipates local authorities will fund this from, and whether it will provide any financial support to local authorities for this.


Plans to create and provide training courses to support the heat in buildings strategy:

Working with industry, we have developed a set of installer skills requirements to help professionalise services in the sector, and provide clearer career pathways for young people. We consulted on these earlier this year and we are now integrating these requirements into the relevant industry standards.

We anticipate that the heat in buildings transition will require a substantial growth in supply chains, particularly in the availability of skilled heating and energy efficiency installers. However, the specific scale and timing of the required workforce growth will depend on a range of factors including the changing demographics and supply chain demand across the construction sector.

We have partnered with Scottish Renewables and Skills Development Scotland to undertake a ‘Heat in Buildings Workforce Assessment Project’ which will help us define the timing of workforce growth and how best to support people transitioning into key roles. This work will report back in Spring 2022. This will improve our understanding on how best to support workforce investment and ensure that jobs will be available for people to move into as they complete their training.

Ensuring that colleges and schools have sufficient trained professionals to teach the skills required to deliver the strategy:

At the end of 2020 the Scottish Government and Skills Development Scotland published the Climate Emergency Skills Action Plan, (CESAP) setting out the actions we need to take to ensure our workforce is able to support the transition to net zero.

The launch of the Green Jobs Workforce Academy also demonstrates our commitment to providing accessible information on training opportunities and skills transferability to job seekers.

Gathering and communicating data on the demand for green jobs will be crucial in developing and delivering the right skills interventions at the right time. As part of the ongoing CESAP Implementation, Skills Development Scotland and the Scottish Funding Council are currently reviewing training provision in the context of our Heat in Buildings Strategy. The results of the workforce assessment project, detailed above, will serve as an evidence base for this review.

Encouraging potential students to undertake relevant heat in buildings training:

The Modern Apprenticeship (MA) is the key pathway for young people into the heating and plumbing industry. The Scottish Government provides a contribution towards training for Modern Apprenticeships through Skills Development Scotland. The public funded training contribution is structured by age and level, and prioritised to support outcomes within the Scottish Government’s skills and economic strategies.

In addition to the apprenticeship pathway, our National Transition Training Fund aims to tackle the rise in unemployment caused by Covid-19 by offering short sharp training opportunities for people to learn in-demand skills. Projects this year include funding for Historic Environment Scotland, which will deliver training on retrofitting pre-1919 buildings, while the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) will support the delivery of training on Passivhaus construction and retro-fit.

Cost and support to Local Authorities:

Local Authorities do not have a specific role in the provision of training through the modern apprenticeship framework. However, we are keen for Local Authorities to play a constructive role in supporting the supply chain growth required to deliver our Heat in Buildings Strategy.

We will work with Local Authorities in the development of our Heat in Buildings Supply Chain Delivery Plan, to be published next Summer, and consider any role they might have in supporting training provision as part of this work.