The Edinburgh and South-East Scotland City Region today welcomed the announcement of a Net Zero Innovation and Delivery Officer to accelerate the campaign towards reducing and eliminating emissions.
The role links across the six City Region Deal local authorities to build skills and capabilities to further develop net zero delivery plans.
Drawn from Innovate UK’s Net Zero Living Programme, the allocated funding makes up part of a £6 million investment to create a dedicated role designed to improve delivery pathways and enable innovative products and services.
Over the next two years, the £291,000 funding is set to support local authorities and will be used to run feasibility studies on the skill barriers for net zero housing.
The Net Zero Innovation and Delivery Officer role will develop and implement programmes to oversee net zero workforce planning and maximise upskilling across the region.
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 requires a well-trained workforce with the skills and capabilities for domestic retrofit and energy efficiency in new homes.
Councillor David Ross, Fife Council Leader, said: “The Net Zero Living programme provides support to local authorities, their partners and communities to overcome barriers to adopting net zero solutions.
“Building on the region’s Integrated Regional Employability and Skills Programme, the Net Zero Innovation and Delivery Officer will develop and implement programmes to address public sector net zero skills gaps for domestic retrofit and energy efficiency measures.
"Transforming homes to be more energy efficient and converting to zero emission heating is a significant opportunity for Scottish business. This programme will develop an inclusive high-skilled manufacturing workforce to meet zero emissions heat supply chain demands.”
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 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 are delivering new training to upskill our local construction workforce. Innovate UK’s funding is critical to shifting the dial on how our unusual housing stock can lead the way in achieving net zero housing emissions.”
Councillor Euan Jardine, Chair of the Joint Committee, Edinburgh and South-East Scotland City Region Deal, added: “In order to achieve net zero targets swiftly and maximise future skills, capacity and capabilities, it is imperative for partner local authorities to accelerate their efforts.
“The local authorities in South-East Scotland have demonstrated commendable ambitions towards achieving net zero, and this funding will serve as a catalyst for fostering additional innovative initiatives.
“We warmly welcome this funding, as it will enable our partners to establish a cohesive regional framework for skills and workforce development across South-East Scotland."