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Education / College looks to understand future skills requirements of energy sector

Shetland College's main Gremista campus.
The Shetland College part of Shetland UHI.

EDUCATION officials have held meetings with the energy industry to find out how Shetland College can support future local skills and research requirements.

This has included talks with SSE, which is developing the Viking Energy wind farm, and also those behind the proposed Orion ‘energy hub’ project which focuses on a raft of initiatives such as hydrogen production.

Shetland College principal Jane Lewis said talks have also been held with Shetland Space Centre.

The matter was raised at a meeting of the Shetland College board on Thursday by North Mainland councillor Emma Macdonald.

She said it was “really important” to engage with the industries which could play a significant role in Shetland’s economy in the future.

A report to councillors said discussions have also been had with the Energy Skills Partnership.

“We are very aware that into the future we have to be providing the skills that the sectors within Shetland need,” Lewis said.

“We have formed a small taskforce within the college from across a variety of sectors and across into NAFC as well, with a view to addressing those skill needs, and they will be part of our curriculum planning.”

The team behind the Orion project says that a large number of jobs could be created over the coming decades both in Shetland and outwith the isles should its plans come to fruition.

The project – formerly titled Shetland Energy Hub – aims at securing a “clean, sustainable energy future for Shetland and the UK”. It is being led by the council and Aberdeen-based Oil and Gas Technology Centre.

Among its many planned activities is using renewable electricity to power offshore oil and gas platforms, while also producing “industrial quantities” of hydrogen.

While there are hundreds of jobs involved in the ongoing construction of the Viking Energy wind farm, meanwhile, a total of 35 full-time local jobs in operation and maintenance are expected throughout its lifespan.