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Scottish government failing on green jobs, says Clark

A SOCIALIST MSP slammed the SNP-Green Scottish government today for its “non-existent” pathway to new green jobs.

Labour West of Scotland MSP Katy Clark has written to embattled SNP Further Education Minister Graeme Dey calling for action following the publication of the Scottish Funding Council’s college statistics for 2022-23.

They showed a drop in the numbers of college students studying green courses such as environment protection or energy by 0.4 per cent to only 0.2 per cent, while only 0.5 per cent — one in 200 — of students are studying production and manufacturing.

Pointing out that the Scottish government has only delivered 20,500 of the 130,000 low-carbon jobs pledged by 2020, Ms Clark challenged the SNP minister to outline how he can turn the situation round while colleges grapple with his government’s £32.7 million in cuts to jobs and courses.

Ms Clark said: “The Scottish government says it’s developing a green industrial strategy to ‘maximise the benefits that Scotland’s abundant natural resources can deliver.’ It can’t arrive quickly enough because, as it stands, the strategy in further education appears to be non-existent.

“Given these abundant resources, it’s concerning how little focus there appears to be on training up workers to fill the green jobs of tomorrow. Rather than providing grants or incentives, the Scottish government is going in the opposite direction, cutting the budgets of hard-up colleges.

“Alongside employers and public bodies, colleges must play a vital role in co-ordinating skills provision as we seek to create the green jobs of the future. It’s past time the Scottish government came forward with a genuine strategy to drum up interest in these vitally important subjects.”

STUC general secretary Roz Foyer said: “Further education is facing a fundamental fight for its future.

“We cannot possibly achieve a true just transition if we don’t have the workforce ready to realise it. Colleges are fundamental to teaching those skills — but they need to be properly funded to do so.

“Katy Clark is absolutely right to raise this issue and we’ll await the minister’s response with anticipation.”

The Scottish government was approached for comment.
 

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