First Minister Alex Salmond will today officially open a new skills academy designed to support Scotland’s renewable energy sector. The ribbon-cutting ceremony came as part of the Cabinet’s visit to Renfrew, located just outside Glasgow.

The Renewable Energy Skills Training Academy (TRESTA), run by Steel Engineering, will train an average of 60 modern apprentices during its first year. Trainees will receive tuition in skills such as first aid, manual handling, abrasive wheel work and welding.

The project has received financial support from Scottish Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland, Renfrewshire Council, the Scottish Government’s National Renewables Infrastructure Fund as well as various private sector sponsors. Job Centre Plus is also in support of the project as Steel Engineering plans to create an additional 120 jobs on site.

During the visit the First Minister and Youth Employment Minister, Angela Constance, met the first intake of trainees at TRESTA as they begin their renewable training.

Speaking ahead of the visit, First Minister Alex Salmond said: “There is recognition within the energy industry of the need for additional skilled labour to meet the demands of Scotland’s burgeoning renewables industry over the next five years, and I am delighted to be opening Steel Engineering’s TRESTA facility which will help the industry meet this ambition.

“Creating and securing jobs, particularly for young people, is a key priority for the Scottish Government and a major part of our efforts is about investing in workforce training and development such as that on offer in this new, cutting-edge TRESTA facility. The trainees entering this exciting centre can expect to become fully equipped to be an integral part of Scotland’s renewables revolution.

“Developing a vibrant and sustainable renewables industry will significantly benefit both the environment and economy of Scotland. TRESTA is a perfect example of how the public and private sector can work together quickly and decisively to deliver access to world-class training to meet Scotland’s global energy ambition and support exciting new job opportunities for young people.”

Peter Breslin, Managing Director of Steel Engineering, said: “We are delighted to welcome the First Minister to experience the work we do to ensure young people are given every opportunity to secure quality training for the renewable sector. As an Investors in People company, Steel Engineering is very proud to play a part in tackling youth employment issues and our modern apprentices are encouraged to reach their full potential at all times.

“The TRESTA model has the potential to be delivered in various locations, working with different industry partners across Scotland. Indeed, it is our intention to establish a TRESTA academy at every Steel Engineering location.”