Last week’s announcement by Samsung to base their first European offshore wind site in Methil cements Energy Park Fife’s growing reputation as a world class centre for renewable technology. Equally it enhances Fife’s ambition to become a leading centre of excellence for renewable and low carbon technologies.
Crucial to Fife’s role in this sector is a workforce with the skills necessary to ensure Fife’s leading role in renewables. Fife is already ahead of the game – Fife Council has already invested in a Renewables Awareness Centre in Kirkcaldy, there’s the Adam Smith College Future Skills Centre, as well as Carnegie College’s Whitlock Energy Collaboration Centre in Rosyth.
Now Kirkland High School & Community College is entering the renewables race with the launch yesterday, Wednesday 8 February, of its Renewables Awareness Centre. Through the centre young people, and their families, will develop a clear understanding of the role and the impact of technologies in changing, shaping and influencing society. It will encourage young people and learners to contribute to building a more sustainable future, taking responsibility for their actions to improve their lives, the lives of others and the environment and enable us all to become informed consumers and producers.
Mathew Fleming, Depute Head Boy at Kirkland High School said: “The Renewables Awareness Centre will ensure that the emerging energy sector is attractive to young people and returning adult learners, especially those of us who are considering career options in this field as they continue their journey of lifelong learning.”
Opportunities Fife is a partnership group tackling unemployment in Fife and their aim is to guarantee that subsequent generations of school leavers will have an awareness of, and be able to acquire the skills necessary, to pursue a career within the renewable energy sector.
With that aim as their goal, Opportunities Fife has engaged in a Comenius Regio partnership with Torun, a city in central Poland. Like Fife, Torun recognises the potential opportunities and appreciates the need to provide students with an awareness of the skills and job opportunities in this area. The partnership includes Fife Council, Kirkland High School & Community College, and Adam Smith College along with Torun City Council and the Complex of Environment Engineering Schools.
Kirkland High School & Community College is ideally based, in Methil and close to Energy Park Fife, to embrace new technologies and work with business and industry to ensure a future workforce appropriately skilled and prepared. Energy Park Fife is home to Burntisland Fabrications, the £4.7million state-of-the-art Hydrogen Office, and the Renewables Innovation Centre, due to open this spring, which will provide incubator units for start-up businesses and other firms going into the renewable energy sector.
Lucinda McAllister, Service Manager for Employability & Skills, believes Fife and Torun share similar aspects: “Torun recognises the need for vocational education so we can share the success of Kirkland High School with them. The partnership is about learning from each other and building a relationship which allows us to expand our knowledge and ensure a skilled workforce. A partnership strategy for training and development in both countries means we have an international pool of support ready to meet the renewable skills demand.”