By Ian McConnell

SCOTTISHPOWER has revealed its largest trainee recruitment drive since 2016, announcing plans for 180 posts, with apprenticeships in its onshore wind business available for the first time.

The energy company’s announcement coincided with a visit of Alok Sharma, president designate of the COP26 United Nations Climate Change Conference due to be held in Glasgow in November, to ScottishPower's giant Whitelee wind farm near Glasgow.

ScottishPower said it was creating “180 separate opportunities for young people to join the company’s operations in Scotland, England and Wales”.

It added: “For the first time in the company’s history, apprenticeships in ScottishPower Renewables’ onshore wind arm are on offer.”

The energy group, which is owned by Iberdrola of Spain, noted the trainee posts on offer range from renewables to networks, procurement and information technology, and include graduate apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeship programmes for school-leavers as well as “opportunities for those looking to retrain from other industries”.

ScottishPower, a principal partner for COP26, highlighted its intention to invest £10 billion in the UK over five years – or £6 million every working day – to double its renewable generation capacity and “drive forward decarbonisation”.

It added that these investment plans include new solar, wind and battery infrastructure, green hydrogen facilities and “undertaking the mammoth task of upgrading parts of the country’s energy network to accommodate the expected rapid increase in demand for electricity”.

Keith Anderson, chief executive of ScottishPower, said: “Everything we do at ScottishPower is about helping tackle the climate emergency and build a better future, quicker for everyone. It’s a big challenge, but it also makes ScottishPower a hugely inspiring place to work with opportunities to innovate and challenge yourself at every turn.”

Mr Sharma said: "Growing our economy while becoming greener provides fantastic opportunities and I am pleased to see ScottishPower, a principal partner of COP26, will be adding so many new green jobs to its current workforce.

"As we move towards our net zero 2050 target, it shows we don't need to choose between cleaning up our environment and growing our economy. I look forward to continuing to work with ScottishPower and others as we move towards COP26."