A FLAGSHIP SNP scheme to “help people secure work in the low carbon economy” has been branded a sham after it appeared to be little more than a jobs listing website.

Scottish Labour said the Green Jobs Workforce Academy, which was launched this week, was a “gobsmacking” example of rhetoric falling short of reality.

Announcing the Academy in December, Skills Minister Jamie Hepburn said it would help ensure people “have the right skills to support a just transition to a net zero economy”.

He said it would support “those who are facing redundancy to upskill and reskill so they can capitalise on green job opportunities as they emerge”.

Launching it on Monday, Nicola Sturgeon said the Academy was “an invaluable step in preparing our current and future workforce to seize the opportunities” of a just transition. 

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She said: “The academy will guide people of all ages through a process of identifying the skills they have and the skills they will need to find and secure green jobs.”

“The Academy’s career advisors stand ready to support individuals interested in these jobs access the right training to help their career progress.

“Looking ahead to COP26 in Glasgow in November, Scotland can be proud that our climate change ambitions, backed by investment in creating a highly skilled green workforce, will be showcased on an international stage.”

However Labour MSP Monica Lennon said the Academy was merely “a website sign-posting people to job adverts and various courses”.

In a letter to the First Minister she said she was pleased at this week’s announcement that ScottishPower was creating 135 green jobs, but the Academy was “little more than a jobs portal with some limited signposting to training opportunities”. 

She wrote: “I can only imagine this sense of disappointment will be shared by the many jobseekers in search of stable employment in the industries of our future.

“This is a disappointing example of overselling.

“We need a much higher level of planning and coordination in the delivery of education and training for these jobs. The failure to plan and deliver the skills and training needed in the low carbon economy has led to missed job opportunities in Scotland. This cannot continue.

“If the current website represents the full remit of the Green Job Workforce Academy, it will be an “academy” in name only. I’m afraid that this is yet another example of reality not matching up to your government’s rhetoric. Will the Academy deliver any training at all, and what budget has it been given towards this?”

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She added: “After much anticipation, it seems The Green Jobs Workforce Academy amounts to little more than a new website.

“Reality rarely matches rhetoric under the SNP, but even by their standards this sham is gobsmacking.

“We are entering a crucially important moment in our economic transformation. We need innovative training opportunities and ambitious plans to make sure no-one is left behind as we move towards net zero.

“Gesture politics won’t cut it when workers are calling out for certainty. Livelihoods are on the line. Workers don’t need hyperlinks – they need real investment in their futures.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: "To help tackle the climate crisis and support our transition to net zero Scotland is investing in green skills and attracting new green job opportunities.

“The Green Jobs Workforce Academy is an important step in preparing our current and future workforce to seize the opportunities afforded to us as part of that just transition. The academy will guide people of all ages through a process of identifying the skills they have and the skills they will need to find and secure green jobs.

“The 135 new green jobs created by Scottish Power reflect the shared priorities of Scotland’s government and employers. The Academy’s career advisors stand ready to support individuals interested in these jobs access the right training to help their career progress.

“The principles of Fair Work underpin our transition to a net-zero economy. That is why we are investing in our workforce by supporting people to upskill and retrain, and help ensure our labour market can meet the challenges and opportunities it faces in years to come.

“In November Glasgow will host COP26 and Scotland can be proud that our climate change ambitions, backed by investment in creating a highly skilled green workforce, will be showcased on an international stage.”