Midlothian skills programme to connect with 1,000 young people in 2024

Midlothian skills programme to connect with 1,000 young people in 2024

The joint venture delivering the district heating network in Midlothian is to work with Powering Futures and Edinburgh Science to deliver a skills programme that aims to connect with 1,000 young people in 2024.

Vattenfall and Midlothian Council believe Midlothian Energy Limited’s presence in the region is an opportunity to help support its former mining communities with a new source of heat, a poetic parallel to their legacy, while giving local young people the chance to be part of this journey.

This skills programme aims to help inspire young people into science and engineering and introduce the concepts of district heating. It will be an ongoing annual commitment to enable the full benefits of investment, including creating apprenticeships and jobs in the local community.

Thought to be a first for Scotland, the District Heating Career Pathway Programme (DHCPP) has been funded by Vattenfall, who will work with Midlothian Council, Edinburgh Science and Powering Futures to make it happen. The programme will deliver the jobs, work experience and apprenticeship commitments that Vattenfall made when entering into the Midlothian Energy Limited Joint Venture.

This educational outreach will be a long-term commitment to empower and inspire the next generation to work in low carbon heating and renewable energy. The programme will be offered to both high schools and all primary schools in the Midlothian area initially, with the intention of expanding to other schools beyond Midlothian.

The programme will be facilitated through Edinburgh Science’s Generation Science and Careers Hive events, as well as with Powering Futures, a SCQF-accredited practitioner linking businesses and educators to drive skills development among the next generation. With full engagement from Midlothian Council Education Team, these programmes will reach over 1000 young people, ensuring they are curriculum relevant and that the schools are engaged and willing to allocate time in their timetables to allow these events to happen.

Vattenfall is proud of progressing Scotland’s most significant district heating network to decarbonise and regenerate Midlothian, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. To ensure a sustainable future for generations to come, the industry needs support in creating the skills needed to deliver low carbon infrastructure. This is why Vattenfall is giving back to the community and is investing in the future of communities, young people, and the district heating industry.

Construction of the district heating network at Shawfair Town started earlier this year where Vattenfall Heat UK has employed Scottish company FES Group to deliver the low-carbon heating at Shawfair Town, a development overseen by Shawfair LLP, in the north of the Midlothian Council area. This will be Vattenfall’s first heat project in Scotland and Midlothian Energy Limited’s flagship project.

Heat is expected to be delivered to homes by June 2024. The initial phase of the network is expected to save over 2,500 tonnes of CO2 per year, the equivalent of taking 1,200 cars off the road. The project will benefit from up to £7.3m from the Scottish Government’s Low Carbon Infrastructure Transformation Project (LCITP).

Eoghan Maguire, director of heat networks – Scotland at Vattenfall Heat UK, said: “To reach net zero by 2045, 22,500 jobs in the low carbon energy sector need to be filled over the next five years, meaning Scotland needs to start building the workforce of the future now. That is exactly what we want to support with this programme.

“We’re so proud to be part of this exciting collaboration that aims to empower and inspire young people into low carbon careers where they can really make a difference.”

Midlothian Council’s cabinet member for education, Councillor Ellen Scott, said: “This is a great example of partnership working that will allow our young people to take advantage of the science and technology expertise on our doorstep, helping them towards skilled and better paid jobs in the future.”

David Reid, co-founder at Powering Futures (formerly Fuel Change) said: “This project not only has significant community and energy benefits, but it is deliberately supporting the workforce of tomorrow to develop the skills they need to ensure they can thrive. It’s the organisations that are investing in their future employees that are going to have the most success in years to come. That’s why we are excited to be collaborating with Vattenfall and other local partners to make this happen.”

Laura McLister, head of learning at Edinburgh Science, said: “We are thrilled to be invited to join this innovative partnership with Vattenfall and Midlothian Council, in order to inspire the next generation with the wonder of science, engineering and future technologies. Tackling the climate emergency is core to this generation’s future, and at the heart of Edinburgh Science’s work. This project will ensure that young people are gaining the skills and knowledge for future jobs to tackle issues influencing our world, and will make a positive impact on our planet for everyone.”

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