The transition of a former Michelin tyre factory into a new centre for developing skills for low carbon transport will be sped up thanks to new funding.
Scotland’s business advice, support and funding agency Scottish Enterprise announced £2.1m will be directed to repurposing the factory in Dundee into a new innovation site named Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc (MSIP).
The money will go towards developing the site, including building new “innovation labs” and a “skills academy”, to set it up as a hub for new ideas and training for greener transport technologies.
Dundee and Angus College will provide the curriculum and expertise for mechanics and transport engineers in generations to come.
Finance secretary Kate Forbes said: “This £2.1m investment in the Michelin Scotland Innovation Parc Skills Academy aligns closely with the Scottish Government’s National Strategy for Economic Transformation ambition for public, private and third sector partnerships to work together to make Scotland’s workforce more agile and support employers to invest in emerging economic opportunities.
“The academy in Dundee will bring existing skills and knowledge from the city’s college and universities together with industry, to deliver new skills, for new technologies.”
She said the money will support the Scottish Government’s Climate Emergency Skills Action Plan, which aims to prepare the country’s workforce with the skills required to transition Scotland to net-zero.
Forbes added: “Enhancing access to skills training will help create new, high-quality green jobs, enhance regional growth, and improve access to growing low carbon markets across the globe for Scotland’s diverse businesses.”
MSIP chief executive Greig Coull said the academy will complement Scotland’s drive to become net-zero by 2045.
He said: “To achieve these ambitious targets, we need advanced technology and infrastructure, but we also require future-focused skills.
“The MSIP Skills Academy provides an opportunity for Scotland to be at the forefront of this movement.”
The announcement comes as Forbes met with students and workers being “upskilled” at Dundee and Angus College to hear how the new facilities will benefit the workforce of the future.
The college’s principal, Simon Hewitt, said: “The MSIP Skills Academy will play a key role in the delivery of these skills for local businesses and practitioners, and will provide an inspiring, innovative and future focused environment to encourage more young people to pursue a career in the green economy.”
The academy, which is due to open later this year, will feature five zones focusing on specific skills.
These include green energy, practical engineering skills and machine workshops, technology and innovation, a wind turbine workshop and the data zone, which will use smart technology and digital sensors to create digital twins – a virtual representation of an object or system.
By summer of next year, the academy aims to have welcomed 500 school pupils as part of its Stem outreach activity and be training 250 full-time students and apprentices.
Scottish Enterprise managing director for business services and advice Jane Martin said the new site will be a “huge asset” for MSIP and will enhance the reputation of Dundee and Scotland as a whole in innovation around sustainable transport.
She added: “We are proud to support the Scottish Government’s new economic strategy as it sets out to promote Scotland as an innovative test bed for new technologies and markets.”