City deal boosts new skills in Midlothian

Prime Minister Theresa May, City of Edinburgh Council leader Adam McVey, Midlothian Council leader Derek Milligan and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon after signing the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal at the University of Edinburgh in August 2018.
Prime Minister Theresa May, City of Edinburgh Council leader Adam McVey, Midlothian Council leader Derek Milligan and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon after signing the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal at the University of Edinburgh in August 2018.

More than 2,000 people are set to benefit from the first wave of skills and career support from the new Housing, Construction and Infrastructure (HCI) Skills Gateway.

Supported by the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal and funded by the Scottish Government, the HCI Skills Gateway – worth £6 million over the next seven years – will provide multi-level support to schools and new entrants to the sector as well as upskilling the existing workforce.

The Skills Gateway includes a diverse range of short work-ready courses in renewable energy for homes, installing electric vehicle charging points, highways and roads infrastructure, environmental technologies and engagement with school pupils.

According to the UK government, south east Scotland is the fastest growing region in Scotland and fifth fastest in the UK. With an anticipated 145,000 new homes to be built over the next two decades, it marks a 40 per cent increase in new housing supply compared with the 20 years prior to the recession.

Professor Sean Smith of Edinburgh Napier University, leads the HCI Skills Gateway, which is being delivered by local universities and colleges. He said: “This support will provide an attractive route into future job opportunities and career pathways.

“We are particularly keen to support unemployed people entering this sector, attracting more women into construction and engineering and supporting existing employees with new skills.”

Scott Warden, head of engineering and construction at Edinburgh College said: “Edinburgh College, in partnership with the City Region Deal, is committed to supporting and increasing opportunities for all by delivering new and innovative construction programmes to address the regional skills shortage.”

Midlothian Council Leader, Councillor Derek Milligan (Lab) added: “Figures suggest that we are facing a construction skills supply shortage of over 3,500 in south east Scotland in the coming years. As well as new skills and jobs, the region needs more bricklayers, joiners, electricians and plumbers.

“The Skills Gateway aims to reduce the gap and will help support inclusive growth for people across the region, including Midlothian.”