The Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region today welcomed the announcement of a Net Zero Innovation and Delivery Officer to accelerate the drive towards reducing and eliminating emissions.
Funded by Innovate UK the role links across the six Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal local authorities to build skills and capabilities to further develop net zero delivery plans.
As Scotland's fastest growing region, a 40% increase in new homes is needed every year. To transform both public and private housing to meet net zero ambitions, the region needs a well-trained workforce with the skills and capabilities for domestic retrofit and energy efficiency in new homes.
The current and future construction workforce crosses South East Scotland local authority boundaries. The £291,000 funding is set support the local authorities - Fife, City of Edinburgh, East Lothian, Midlothian, Scottish Borders and West Lothian - over two years. This will be used to run feasibility studies on the skills barriers for net zero housing, develop and implement programmes to oversee net zero workforce planning and maximise upskilling across the region.
Kirsty Connell-Skinner, Programme Manager at Housing, Construction & Infrastructure (HCI) Skills Gateway, said: “Achieving Scotland’s net zero targets needs real action on the ground, not flights of fancy for untested technologies.
“HCI Skills Gateway is working with our university partners Edinburgh Napier University, Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh to champion the case for housing and energy retrofit, despite the challenges of high density of flats and pre-20th century infrastructure.
“Meanwhile, college partners Borders, Edinburgh, Fife and West Lothian Colleges are all delivering new training to upskill our local construction workforce. Innovate UK’s funding for both the micro and macro levels – from the skills we all need in our houses to install new net zero energy systems, to building the decarbonised energy manufacturing supply chain in South East Scotland – are critical to shifting the dial on how our unusual housing stock can lead the way in achieving net zero housing emissions.”
Innovation UK's vision is for the UK will prosper from being the fastest transitioning economy to net zero and Fast Followers represents grass roots investment in net zero innovation.
Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, are investing £6 million in the Fast Followers competition as part of the Innovate UK Net Zero Living programme.