Prof Paul de Leeuw, Cabinet Secretary Michael Matheson and Gillian Martin MSP for Aberdeenshire East

RGU contributes to national conversation on energy transition

By David Proctor - 12 October 2022

RGU teamed up with Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce (AGCC) to host the Our Mission: Energy Transition fringe event at the SNP conference on Monday 10 October. The packed-out event explored what the transition will mean for the offshore energy industry, future skills and investment, with a particular focus on the North East of Scotland.

Professor Paul de Leeuw, Director of RGU’s Energy Transition Institute, and Donella Beaton, RGU Vice Principal for Economic Development, were joined on an expert panel by Michael Matheson MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport and Fergus Mutch, AGCC’s policy advisor. The event at P&J Live was chaired by Gillian Martin, MSP for Aberdeenshire East.

Professor de Leeuw provided an overview of the key findings from RGU’s influential Making the Switch Report (May 2022) which considers the future shape of the offshore energy workforce. With the North-East of Scotland hosting the largest energy skills cluster in the UK, representing around 28% of the UK’s offshore energy workforce and home to unique specialist knowledge and experience, the region has a critical role to play to deliver and accelerate the energy transition. With the right investment, the region could support 9,000 more offshore energy jobs by 2030 than it currently does, becoming a net zero global energy hub.

Cabinet Secretary Michael Matheson was clear that a managed energy transition is needed, taking account of the region’s five decades’ worth of expertise and experience in oil and gas.

Donella Beaton and Fergus Mutch at conference fringe event Donella Beaton and Fergus Mutch at the fringe event.

Donella said that skills were crucial if the North East of Scotland was to take full advantage of the energy transition, pointing to the work RGU is already doing on this with the development of new degree programmes and short courses, and as being a leading provider of Graduate Apprenticeships.

She also said that RGU was actively involved in collaborating with other organisations with the National Energy Skills Accelerator (NESA), which brings together RGU, The University of Aberdeen, and NESCol, among other partners, to work with energy providers to help them meet current and future skills needs.

The fringe event came as the Cabinet Secretary announced that an offshore energy skills summit will be held in Aberdeen on 2 November which aims to help oil and gas workers move into jobs away from traditional fossil fuels. RGU is pleased to have been invited to participate in the summit.

The Cabinet Secretary was also asked about the possibility of the North East playing host to one of two Green Freeports in Scotland, but he would not be drawn on the outcome of the UK and Scottish Government decision.

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