Our Chief Executive, Liz McAreavey, was recently invited to give evidence to the Economy & Fair Work Committee at the Scottish Parliament, on behalf of the Scottish Chambers network. The Committee is currently undertaking an inquiry into a Just Transition to net zero for the Grangemouth area, looking at how government and others can support, incentivise and de-risk this transition in a way that benefits both companies and individuals.
Some of the challenges and priorities for the business community that Liz shared were:
- The challenge of cost and finance for SME’s trying get on the Net Zero journey
- The importance of supporting reskilling and upskilling in the local area of Grangemouth
- Some of the funding priorities for SMEs around energy efficiency, insulation, transport etc.
- Liz referred to the Skills Development Scotland Green Skills Report, looking at the importance of re-skilling and up-skilling in these developing green industries, and the value this will add to the workforce.
- However she also highlighted the challenges currently being posed by labour shortages, which are holding back some elements of the just transition. Liz highlighted the need to attract and upskill, encourage older workers to stay or re-join the workforce, and to support those who are currently furthest from the workforce.
- Liz highlighted that businesses are very much aware of their role in improving the social infrastructure of local communities, fair work, businesses with purpose etc., and that they recognise their role is to help create the right environment in which they can operate and with purpose.
- Noted the importance of bringing women into this space, where only 25% of these jobs are filled by women at the moment.