A north-east MSP has vowed to continue to press ministers to re-establish a fund to help boost the region’s economy following Covid-19.
The Transition Training Fund was set up in 2016 in the aftermath of the oil price crash, and helped more than 4,000 people retrain for new jobs.
Now, in light of fresh difficulties facing the industry, Aberdeenshire East MSP Gillian Martin has urged the Scottish Government to resurrect it.
Funding worth £62 million has already been pledged to support energy transition – focusing on the north-east.
Ms Martin said: “The crash of 2016 was an enormous blow to thousands of workers in oil and gas. The Scottish Government’s Transition Training Fund was hugely successful in helping thousands of workers retrain and pursue new career paths.
“The £62m Energy Transition Fund announced last week by the First Minister is a massive boost for the region. That’s why I’m lobbying to ensure we have a scheme like the Transition Training Fund to help workers retrain to pursue sustainable careers that fund will help enable.
“We have a highly capable workforce in the north-east, capable adapting their skillsets to new avenues. Recreating the TTF would give people a crucial helping hand.”
In response to Ms Martin’s raising of the issue in parliament, economy, fair work and culture secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “It is very important that our recovery is green; that will require skills and, as part of that just transition, support for those who are reskilling into the area.
“Along with the Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, the Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, Richard Lochhead, and the Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills, Jamie Hepburn, we met the chairs and chief executives of Skills Development Scotland and the Scottish Funding Council to discuss the support and training that will be required for what will be a substantial labour market response.
“Clearly, regional support for regional jobs must be identified as a key priority, and for the north-east that is definitely in the area that Gillian Martin describes.”