SSE Renewables and Workspace launch Learning for Life Skills Fund

Northern Ireland’s leading low carbon energy generator, SSE Renewables, has launched a new education and training programme funded from local wind energy to support employability in the mid Ulster area, in partnership with the Workspace Group. 

The all-new SSE Renewables ‘Learning for Life’ Skills Fund will invest £75,000 over five years in a range of training and employment skills programmes delivered by the Workspace Group in mid Ulster through their training and employability company Network Personnel. 

The fund will see Workspace and SSE Renewables partnering to support the ongoing provision of learning, training, education and employment initiatives for young people and individuals in Draperstown and the surrounding communities.

SSE Renewables generates 100% green energy at its wind farms in Northern Ireland to provide sister energy supply company, SSE Airtricity, with the renewable energy it provides to almost 200,000 home and business customers across the region. 

The SSE Renewables ‘Learning for Life’ Skills Fund will operate alongside the existing SSE Airtricity Community Fund, which has supported almost 600 community led projects in the areas around their wind farms, as well as the SSE Airtricity Scholarship which has supported over 150 local students pursuing third level education. 

Speaking at the launch of the new fund, Mark Ennis, Chairman of SSE Airtricity, said

“We are delighted to partner with Workspace in this exciting initiative which will enable them to extend the excellent support provided to local people across rural areas within mid Ulster. We always seek to make a sustainable difference to the rural communities where we operate and through our Community Fund we have contributed £2.3m to local organisations and assisted more than 150 students through our dedicated Scholarship Fund, which helps undergraduates with the financial costs of third level education.”

“The SSE Renewables ‘Learning for Life’ Skills Fund will give even more people the opportunity to benefit through a range of training and employability programmes, which will help build capacity, tackle rural isolation, and increase employment opportunities. The Workspace Group has an excellent track record in supporting people to gain new qualifications and get back into the workplace, and we are excited to see this programme begin.”

Georgina Grieve, Chief Executive of the Workspace Group added: 

“The SSE Renewables ‘Learning for Life’ Skills Fund will help us increase the positive impact we have already been able to bring to people by providing training and support to help them gain employment. SSE Renewables has recognised the need to support this area and we are delighted that they have partnered with the Workspace Group to deliver this new programme.”

The SSE Renewables ‘Learning for Life’ Skills Fund is funded from local wind energy across Tyrone, Fermanagh and Derry-Londonderry through the SSE Regional Fund. This Regional Fund, which receives financial contributions from SSE Renewables-operated wind farms in the region, already supports the SSE Airtricity Scholarship which has financially backed more than 150 local students pursuing third level education courses at Ulster University, South West College and North West Regional College. 

SSE Renewables and SSE Airtricity are the leading financial contributors to local communities and young people in Northern Ireland from wind power. In 2018, SSE Airtricity gave over £500,000 to community groups and scholarships in Northern Ireland, bringing the total amount of funding to more than £2.3 million so far.

SSE Renewables operates Northern Ireland’s largest portfolio of wind farms, with more than 140MW of installed wind energy capacity helping contribute to Northern Ireland’s 40% renewable energy target by 2020. SSE Renewables is continuing to advance its pipeline of onshore wind energy developments in the region to help drive decarbonisation across Northern Ireland. This includes plans for a £150 million wind farm at Doraville near Cookstown in Co. Tyrone, which could generate up to 139MW of green electricity with the potential to power over 120,000 homes each year and crucially offset over 125,000 tonnes of carbon emissions annually, making meaningful strides on behalf of Northern Ireland towards the UK’s net zero goal.