Environmentalists took a giant wind turbine blade to the streets of Inverness today as part of a campaign to secure green jobs.
Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth Scotland and Platform invited shoppers and visitors to sign the 42ft blade to show their support for a fair energy transition deal.
The charities visited the Highland capital as part of a country-wide tour, which heads to Aberdeen’s Duthie Park tomorrow between 9am and 5pm.
The Just Transition campaign was launched to secure adequate training for oil workers in preparation for a smooth transition to renewables, after a survey found about 300 offshore workers were facing an annual £1,600 fee to repeat training courses.
Scottish Government needs a “proper plan”
Morten Thaysen, a campaigner for Greenpeace, urged the government to step up and make a “proper plan” to prevent the future collapse of the industry.
“Due to climate change, we will have to move away from oil and gas to other industries for instance offshore wind and onshore wind but the situation at the moment, is for a lot of workers it is hard to move from one industry to another.
“People are having to do new training sessions and have to pay out their own pocket for that.
“We think it’s important that the government makes a proper plan for the transition and supports workers to move from one industry to another and invest in renewables to make sure there is enough jobs for people.”
He added that proper planning would protect the move to renewables, and ensure a “gentle transition” that supports communities and jobs.
Offshore workers faced with thousands of pounds in recurring costs
A recent survey of 300 Scottish offshore workers showed that repetitive and expensive training costs could be a barrier blocking workers from accessing jobs in renewables.
Almost two thirds of respondents said they’d had to repeat training they’d already done, and workers reported spending on average £1,600 each year on training costs.
Ryan Morrison, campaigner for Friends of the Earth Scotland, claimed the sector had become “toxic and competitive” due to the lack of jobs available.
He said: “There are too few jobs in renewables in the green energy industries and that’s something that really has to change with investment from the government and making it accessibly for people who work in oil and gas to shift across.
“That will take some new training but that should all be provided.
“Essentially these are people that keeping the lights on and we need them to be able to make that transition.”
What do people on the street think?
Plenty of people stopped at Eastgate to sign the turbine blade in support of the campaign.
Dave Dickson, 71, from Inverness, said: “I support what they are saying. My daughter works in the oil industry and what they are saying is true for a lot of people in the oil industry just now, losing their jobs and being made redundant. It’s worse then Covid.”
Laura Senkiw and Daniel Dodd believe action needs to be taken to protect future generations.
Ms Senkiw: “We have, in the last few years, been more conscientious and more environmentally friendly.
“Neither of us actually choose to drive and prefer to use public transport so anything about sustainability and environmentally friendly we support.
“We live in Moray and its just such a beautiful part of the world. We want to preserve that not just for us but for future generations.
“We don’t have children but I’ve got a niece and I would love to think that when she grows up she’s going to be able to enjoy and have a sustainable life.”
Retired software engineer Brian MacKenzie, from Inverness, said: “I actually used to work for the oil industry so I fully support it.
“There is a lot of skill which is otherwise going wasted so its time for change.”