Statkraft has announced it will provide support to the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) to allow it to gain early insight into the education and skills requirements for training up a local workforce to help build the Loch na Cathrach pumped storage hydro project in the Scottish Highlands.

Formerly known as Red John, the project aims to harness excess renewable energy, ensuring a stable power supply as the UK transitions away from fossil fuels. With consent granted by Scottish Government ministers in June 2021, the 450MW scheme represents a significant step towards sustainable energy production.

Statkraft's funding support will enable UHI to develop an accurate picture of the numbers and types of roles required to construct the project. It is intended that this report will benefit everyone who lives and works in the region and will help to inform senior pupils and UHI students, as they look to the future and decide their career pathways. It will also provide those already in employment with a picture of where the upskilling and reskilling opportunities exist.

The report, anticipated to commence this spring and conclude by summer, will not only identify the roles essential for the project but also assess the existing workforce's skills against the project's demands. By bridging any identified gaps through education, training, and strategic collaborations, the study aims to bolster local businesses and facilitate economic growth in the region.

“This report will provide an essential picture of the skills required to build Statkraft’s most significant project in Scotland,” commented Iain Robertson, Head of Statkraft Scotland. “I’m delighted we’re able to build on our existing relationship with UHI to help them deliver this important piece of work, which will benefit students, businesses, and communities alike.

Alison Wilson, Director of Economic Development and Advancement, from UHI, added: “Statkraft are one of our key industry partners and as such we’re really pleased to be working with them once again on a report like this. This funding will help us plan for future education provision, to ensure it continues to be closely aligned with the needs of key sectors and our industry partners across the region.

Donald Weir, Loch na Cathrach Project Director; Shona Clyne, Head of Economic Development, UHI; and Iain Robertson, Head of Statkraft, Scotland at Inverness Townhouse.