A.C. Whyte Skills Academy is key to upskilling to meet zero

A.C. Whyte responded to Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Economy, Kate Forbes open invitation to organisations who wish to play a role in rebuilding Scotland, as we collectively recover from the economic impact of the pandemic.

A.C. Whyte invited the Minister to site last Wednesday to hear about their A.C. Whyte Energy Efficiency Skills Academy, a unique and first of its kind training and job creation programme, launched in 2018. The Academy was designed to generate a sustainable, skilled workforce of external wall insulation installers. Jennifer Phin, Managing Director of A.C. Whyte explained:

Scotland have some of the most stringent net zero targets of any nation and in order to meet these, the country must adopt a fabric first approach – prioritising insulating our homes and buildings.  This will require huge upscaling in our sector.

Jennifer went on to say:

We created the Skills Academy model, that is a blend of in college and on-site learning that provides targeted training specific to the requirements of external wall insulation, allowing students or ‘Akademos’ as we refer to them, to graduate into guaranteed, full-time employment with A.C. Whyte on successful completion of the 1-year course.

Ms Forbes was introduced to three Akademos, who successfully graduated into full time employment with A.C. Whyte. one recent Akademo and graduate of the Academy, who is now an A.C. Whyte employee said:

The Skills Academy has been a great opportunity, the training was almost fast tracked, without compromising on our learning, it covers all aspects, meaning we could access the guaranteed job in a shorter time which was the attraction.

When asked by Ms Forbes how the Scottish Government could support the Skills Academy further, Jennifer Phin of A.C. Whyte confirmed:

These types of energy efficiency projects are an example of how the country will meet our ambitious, but achievable net zero targets.

The visit took place in Kilmaurs in East Ayrshire, where A.C. Whyte are working in partnership with East Ayrshire Council to install external wall insulation works to a mix of Council properties and private homeowners, funded by Scottish Government’s Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland: Area Based Schemes.

Jennifer Phin concluded with:

With long term budget commitments from the Scottish Government, Council’s like East Ayrshire can design multiyear programmes, allowing contractors to build in Community Wealth initiatives such as the Skills Academy.  A.C. Whyte have launched Skills Academies in Inverclyde and South Lanarkshire.

Long term investment programmes would allow us to collaborate with councils to roll this out across the country. East Ayrshire residents could benefit, as we create the 20 minute neighbourhood, where residents, train, work and live within their communities, supporting a just transition to net zero.