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26 October 2022

Scotland trains new generation of net zero leaders

Scottish Future Leaders Programme kicks off

Skills planning Net zero

A new generation of net zero industry leaders is being developed thanks to an innovative training programme being offered in Scotland for the first time.

The Scotland Future Leaders Programme features participants from industries including construction, engineering and the energy transition.

The training, which has been fully funded by the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS), will see six young people enhancing their leadership skills including mental resilience, emotional intelligence, learning how to make capacity, thinking differently and empowering others.

The programme was kickstarted in Scotland by members of the Climate Emergency Skills Action Plan’s Heat Decarbonisation group, which is supported by Skills Development Scotland (SDS).

The chair of the group is Steve Petrie, Business Performance Director at Balfour Beatty plc.

He said: “The leaders of today will be of retirement age when Scotland’s target of being net zero by 2045 rolls around, and we need to ensure a leadership legacy to safeguard Scotland’s climate future.

“This programme is one part of building up workforce ability to embrace the changes coming and capitalise on the opportunities ahead.”

MCS are members of the Heat Decarbonisation group and offered to replicate in Scotland their successful work with The Future Leaders Programme in England, leading to the Scotland Future Leaders Programme.

Ian Rippin, CEO of MCS, said: “Scotland is already a renewables powerhouse, and there is opportunity in green jobs across industries. To ensure this continues we need to have leaders who trailblaze a culture of collaboration and innovation to create globally leading industries.”

Richard Cartlidge, the Director of the Programme, said: “The fight against climate change represents the greatest challenge of our time. Effective, purpose-driven leadership will be essential if we are to succeed in delivering a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2045 and it is climate focussed businesses who will achieve this.”

Elaine Ellis, SDS Skills Planning Manager for Construction, said: “This programme has a critical role to play in ensuring our young leaders possess the key skills and capabilities required for the transition to a low carbon economy. It also offers the opportunity to widen out the range of voices and experiences coming into leadership positions in line with the aims of the Climate Emergency Skills Action Plan and a just transition.”

The first group of Scotland Future Leaders will complete their training in May 2023. The programme is delivered primarily in a virtual learning environment to minimise carbon costs but optimise accessibility.

There is a three-day residential ‘Strategy Retreat’ where participants develop the social capital in the group. A second group of future leaders will begin their training in January 2023.