Almost 22,000 studying renewable energy in Scotland, new stats show

Ellice Mentiplay, a Commercial Graduate at EDF Renewables in Edinburgh,

ALMOST 22,000 students in Scotland are taking courses relating to renewable energy – up more than 70% on 2019, new figures show.

Thirty-three colleges and universities responded to a Freedom of Information request to provide the figures, which show a vast range of courses including engineering, mathematics and finance now include an element of renewables.

The same survey held in 2019 found 12,885 students were studying courses related to renewable energy, compared to 21,919 today.

Just under a third (28%) of those included in the most recent results are female, with three quarters (72%) male.

Claire Mack, Chief Executive of industry body Scottish Renewables, which carried out the research, said:

“These numbers show the impact renewable energy is already having on Scotland’s economy and the attractiveness of green jobs to today’s young people.”

She continued: “Renewables like wind, solar and hydropower already provide the vast majority of Scotland’s electricity and contribute more than £5.6 billion to our economy every year.

“This is an industry which has huge plans for growth and these figures, particularly contrasted with those from the same survey in 2019, show that renewable energy is quite rightly being seen as a career of the future for those in further and higher education.”

The Freedom of Information request shows that the highest number of students taking courses related to renewable energy are studying engineering (5,373 students), followed by business (1,202) and management (742).

But courses including biotechnology, design and physics & astronomy also relate to renewable energy, the colleges and universities said.

Institutions with the highest number of students are Glasgow Caledonian University (3,312), University of St Andrews (2,596) and the University of Glasgow (1,943).

Jenifer Johnston, Head of Communications and Public Affairs at Colleges Scotland, said:

“Renewable energy and all the supporting technology and services which the sector needs is a hugely exciting part of Scotland’s economy.

“Building a career in renewables starts at college, and every college in Scotland is delivering courses where learners gain the skills and knowledge they need to thrive.”

Ellice Mentiplay, 24, studied environmental science at Abertay University and completed a Masters in Energy, Society and Sustainability at the University of Edinburgh last year. She is now a Commercial Graduate with EDF Renewables in Edinburgh.

Ellice said:

“While studying at university I took a really keen interest in the subjects related to renewable energy and these have given me the knowledge and understanding needed to pursue a career in this thriving industry.

“I’m really excited to see Scotland at the forefront of this industry, particularly with onshore and offshore wind, I’m really proud to be able to support EDF Renewables and the renewable energy industry as we deliver Scotland’s net-zero ambitions.”  

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