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Highland Skills Challenge Fund - An Opportunity For Businesses To Develop Their Green Skills

12th September 2023

The Highland Council, with support from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, is inviting Highland businesses to apply for funding to support the costs of green skills training for their workforce.

Cllr Ken Gowans, Chair of the Council's Economy and Infrastructure Committee explained: "This Challenge Fund has been set up to support Highland businesses who wish to invest in their workforce and develop their green skills. We want to use these funds to enable businesses access green skills training that is not otherwise currently available to them in Highland.

"We also know that businesses in Highland often have to send staff south to secure training as they are unable to get the required training locally. As part of the Challenge Fund, we are also inviting training providers to apply for funding to invest in existing or new facilities to enable such training to be provided locally in Highland."

The fund is now open and an online briefing session for interested businesses and organisations will take place on Tuesday 19 September.

Applications must be submitted by 4 October.

Guidance on the Challenge Fund and details of how to apply are available on the Highland Council website -

Interested parties are invited to contact the Council on to discuss their proposals and to register for the online briefing session.

Skills proposals are invited to provide training initiatives not currently provided with an aim of supporting and sustaining commercial organisations, with up to 50 employees, which are looking towards supporting green skills in their workforce. Demand for greening organisations is driven by a range of factors, including public policies and targets, customer demand and defined by three main trends:

Across occupations and industries, greening requires upgrading skills and adjusting qualification requirements;

New or emerging economic activities which create new or renewed occupations with related qualifications and skills profiles; and

Structural changes may create a need to realign sectors that will decline as a result of the greening of the economy and retrain workers accordingly.

In principle there will be four types of job or activity which needs to be recognised with support being proposed towards those mainly affected being Green Jobs in Green Industries & Greening jobs in non-green industries. Others will not be eligible being Non green jobs in green industries or non-green jobs in non-green industries

Examples of activities which the Council see as potentially being eligible would include

- Electrician/ roofer moving into solar panels

- Heating engineers/ plumbers needing to develop skills in new formats of heating

- Traditional motor mechanics moving forward to service and maintain electric vehicles

- Estates and land-based industries in peatland reclamation​