A SCOTTISH based company was forced to recruit "dozens" of workers from overseas to build windfarm equipment despite Nicola Sturgeon promising the renewable sector would provide "truly historic" job opportunities for local people.

The issue was raised at First Minister's Questions today in Holyrood by the Scottish Lib Dem leader Alex Cole Hamilton in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and fears over energy supplies.

Mr Cole-Hamilton told MSPs that 15 years ago former First Minister Alex Salmond "thundered that Scotland would become the “Saudi Arabia of renewables” and that just a few weeks ago, Ms Sturgeon "boasted of a 'truly historic' opportunity for renewables jobs" which followed an auction of seabed plots for major offshore wind projects around the Scottish coast.

However, the Lib Dem MSP said while the Bi-Fab plant, in Methil, Fife, recently been taken over by a new owner InfraStrata plc, had won contracts, but could not find qualified staff.

READ MORE: SNP minister claims Scotland 'on cusp of greens job revolution'

"The aggression that has been demonstrated by the Russian regime in recent days asks us, once again, searching questions about our energy security.

"Fifteen years ago, Alex Salmond thundered that Scotland would become the 'Saudi Arabia of renewables'. A few weeks ago, the First Minister boasted of a 'truly historic' opportunity for renewables jobs," he told the chamber.

"Now the new owner of the Burntisland Fabrications site, InfraStrata plc, has secured work, but cannot find Scottish workers. There are not enough trained workers among the colossal wind farms of the Forth estuary to build even eight turbine jackets.

"Instead, the new owner has had to recruit dozens of workers from abroad, because the Scottish National Party has failed to train enough skilled workers here. Not only are most of the wind farms being built in the far east, but the work that we have won is not being built by workers from Scotland. 

READ MORE: Scotland's offshore wind energy sector is worth £1 billion a year

"Does that not show that the SNP’s renewables policy is all wind and no jobs?"

The First Minister replied: "I do not agree with that, but there are important issues are the heart of the question. Alex Cole-Hamilton has described the challenge, and my Government is getting on with offering the solutions.

"I have been frank in the past: I do not think that we have done well enough in securing the economic supply chain and jobs benefits of our massive renewables opportunities, and I am absolutely certain that we must do much better in the future.

"A substantial body of work is under way to ensure that, as we take advantage of the opportunities of ScotWind, we build the economic advantages to go along with it. I am determined that we will get that right.

"There are global shortages of some of the skills that we are talking about, which is a problem, and there are recruitment challenges that are, of course, exacerbated by Brexit.

"We are focused on ensuring that, as we take advantage of the amazing opportunities, particularly of offshore wind, this and future generations will see the benefits in jobs and economic activity.

"I certainly look forward to keeping members updated on that in the months and years to come."

The ScotWind auction of seabed plots for major offshore wind projects around the Scottish coast netted the Scottish Government £700m.

Seventeen projects covering a total of 7,000km2 were chosen in the first such leasing round in a decade.

The First Minister was later forced to defend the ScotWind offshore plans after accusations over human rights abuses and work being given away cheaply.

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar raised the "questionable human rights records" of some of the successful firms at First Minister's Questions.

He went on to claim foreign countries would end up with a bigger stake in the offshore energy produced in Scotland than the Scottish Government.

Last December the Scottish Government was criticised after a promise of 130,000 green jobs by 2020 only resulted in little more than 20,000 people being hired.And months earlier former SNP justice secretary and Alba MP Kenny MacAskill said Scotland was missing out on offshore wind farm jobs while English yards were "booming".

He said the "rhetoric of the Saudi Arabia of wind isn't matching the reality onshore in Scotland".

He claimed yards at Arnish on the Isle of Lewis and the former Bi-Fab yard at were "lying idle and workers seeking employment" and called for governments to act to deliver more Scottish jobs.