Caithness Map :: Links to Site Map Paying too much for broadband? Move to PlusNet broadband and save£££s. Free setup now available - terms apply. PlusNet broadband.  


Nigg Skills Academy Launched

25th March 2012

Photograph of Nigg Skills Academy Launched

First Minister unveiled a training boost for Scotland's energy industry Nigg Skills Academy to train thousands for renewables and oil and gas.

First Minister Alex Salmond launched an industry-led energy skills academy, established with over 900,000 public funding, to deliver training for thousands of workers across key sectors including oil & gas and renewables.

Nigg Skills Academy (NSA) has been built at Nigg Energy Park, which was purchased by Global Energy Group (GEG) in October. Highlands & Island Enterprise (HIE) has already committed 1.8 million to the development of the 238-acre site on the Cromarty Firth, which the company estimates could see up to 2,000 people employed at Nigg within four years.

GEG has provided and substantially upgraded premises for the NSA, which will operate initially as a 12-month pilot, with funding from the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), Skills Development Scotland (SDS) and HIE totalling 915,000.

The Academy aims to start 290 Modern Apprenticeships (MAs) in its first year and to provide both MAs and general training for some 3,000 people by 2015 for a range of jobs including engineers, operators, riggers, technicians and for general and project management.

The First Minister said: "Nigg has one of the world's largest dry docks and its workforce has been responsible for some of the biggest energy-related structures ever built, so it is well positioned to host the Skills Academy pilot. I'm delighted to meet some of the first recruits and to be able to congratulate Global Energy and the various agencies involved for establishing this innovative facility just five months after the purchase of the Nigg site.

"With some one trillion pounds of oil & gas reserves remaining and huge export opportunities for supply chain companies, Scotland's offshore energy sector remains vibrant, while our burgeoning renewables sector is set to reindustrialise communities across Scotland. Clearly the energy industry needs continued access to world-class talent to meet Scotland's global energy ambitions; Nigg Skills Academy is a perfect example of how the public and private sector can work together quickly and decisively to deliver just that.

"We identified Nigg as a strategic location in our National Renewable Infrastructure Plan and I'm pleased that the UK Treasury has agreed to our proposal that Nigg becomes eligible for enhanced capital allowances. The Scottish Government will continue to support the transformation and renaissance of Nigg as a vital hub for our world-leading energy industry."

The NSA has had more than 800 applications since advertisements were placed last month - with all those applying guaranteed pre-training tests. The industry-led model has the potential to be delivered in various locations, with different industry partners across Scotland.

GEG Chairman Roy MacGregor said: "There is recognition within the wider energy industry of the need for additional skilled labour if we are to meet the demands of both oil & gas and the emerging renewables industry over this next three to five years. A lot of discussion has taken place around the skills agenda, and I am delighted, following our purchase of Nigg Energy Park, to have entered into early dialogue with the various public sector bodies. They were able to move quickly in their understanding of the critical skills issues facing the industry if it is to grow and look to attract inward investment into the area. I would like to thank HIE, SDS and SFC for their financial support for this innovative pilot project. We have our own needs over this next three years to service both oil & gas and renewable energy opportunities."

John McClelland, Chair of both the SFC and SDS, added: "This is an excellent example of partnership working between the college sector and industry to respond to the energy sector's current and future skills needs. It builds upon the work of SFC and SDS in this area including the Energy Skills Investment Plan and College Energy Partnerships. The benefits for industry and for individuals are clearly demonstrated and we look forward to our continuing involvement in skills development at Nigg."

Lorne Crerar, Chairman of HIE commented: "The Highlands & Islands has a long and effective tradition of mobilising large workforces quickly for big energy projects through specific industry-led training initiatives. We need only look to the hydro schemes of the 1960s, and how the oil industry was able to very quickly turn farmers into fabricators and crofters into welders back in the 1970s. Provision of an industry-led Academy will provide a facility which can meet the skills challenges facing local employers. This is a facility for the entire sector, and its services will be open to all employers. It'll be a key asset in attracting new investors into the area and will maximise opportunities for the future workforce."

The Highland Council Convener Sandy Park said: "The Highland Council is pleased to support the launch of the Nigg Skills Academy. The Council recognises the need to develop a skilled workforce to support Global Energy's plans for Nigg and for the wider supply chain in the Highlands. There are significant employment opportunities for young people and those seeking to up-skill and as a key partner we are determined to help make this new venture a success."

In addition to GEG and Scottish public sector funders, other partners in the project include North Highland College, JobCentrePlus, the Highland Council, the University of the Highlands and Islands, SQA, and industry training accreditation bodies Semta and EAL. North Highland College will provide equipment and other services to the NSA. JobCentre Plus has seconded a staff member to work at the NSA to help ensure employers' labour needs are met and to maximise opportunities for jobseekers in the region. The Highland Council and the University will provide nominations to join GEG on NSA management board.


Related Businesses


Related Articles

Community is key, say Caithness and Sutherland young peopleThumbnail for article : Community is key, say Caithness and Sutherland young people
A new survey into the attitudes and aspirations of young people indicates those taking part from Caithness and Sutherland are strongly connected and proud of their local community.   The perceptions of 234 of the area's young people highlight a number of positive findings.  
Celebrations as Highlands & Islands Food & Drink Awards Winners Announced
New Business Award 2015 Winner: Dunnet Bay Distillers Seventeen businesses across the Highlands, islands and Cairngorms National Park area are celebrating wins from the area's most prestigious food and drink awards.   The awards recognise excellence across a range of businesses from artisan producers and large-scale food exporters to restaurants and farm shops.  
Help for communities to invest in renewables
A new programme to help communities and social enterprises to generate income by investing in commercially owned renewable energy developments has been launched this week, as part of Community Energy Fortnight.   Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has introduced the programme to deliver one to one support, tailored development workshops and specialist support to raise awareness of, and accelerate, the completion of investment opportunities.  
Innovative businesses urged to consider Life Sciences Pathfinder programme
Innovative businesses from across Scotland looking to explore the commercial potential of an idea before bringing it to market are being urged to consider the Pathfinder Accelerator programme, delivered by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).   Pathfinder is free and open to existing and start-up companies in the life science, technology and digital health sectors.  
10,000 Caithness homes and businesses have access to new broadband networksThumbnail for article : 10,000 Caithness homes and businesses have access to new broadband networks
New locations announced as three million UK superfast broadband milestone is reached.   More than 10,000 homes and businesses in Caithness can now access next generation fibre broadband through the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband (DSSB) roll-out.  
Highlands and Islands opportunity appeal to young peopleThumbnail for article : Highlands and Islands opportunity appeal to young people
Opportunity, quality of life and strong community links have been cited as some of the positive reason young people are choosing to stay in the Highlands and Islands.   This is according to a new report on the recent Young people and the Highlands and Islands: Attitudes and aspirations study commissioned by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).  
Appointments confirmed for the Advisory Group of Wave Energy Scotland
A series of key appointments have been made to Wave Energy Scotland (WES) as the new research and development organisation sets up an Advisory Group.   WES received over fifty applications from interested parties keen to be involved in the group.  
Broadband Improvement for Outer Hebrides - Faster Connectivity
Digital connectivity is changing forever on the Outer Hebrides with the announcement today (Tuesday 7 July) that high-speed fibre broadband is live in Stornoway.   Around 3,600 premises in Stornoway will be the first to have access to the new services thanks to the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband project.  
Wick and Arran pupils announced as winners of 'dragon's den' apps competition
Pupils from Wick High School and Lamlash Primary School on the Isle of Arran have been announced as winners of a dragon's den style competition to design apps that solve real-world problems.   The Highlands and Islands ‘Apps for Good' final took place today where schools from across the region pitched their products via live videos to a panel of judges based at UHI’s executive office in Inverness.  
Finalists announced for a record-breaking Highlands & Islands Food & Drink Awards
Thirty-eight businesses across the Highlands, islands and Cairngorms National Park area have been shortlisted for the area's most prestigious food and drink awards.   Finalists ranged from new businesses to established producers; family-run restaurants to Michelin-starred establishments and demonstrated the strength and diversity of food and drink businesses across the region.  

[Printer Friendly Version]