Scottish Enterprise, Scotland’s national economic development agency, is behind a series of projects designed to find more environmentally friendly train and track solutions, as well as bringing jobs and inward investment to Scotland’s manufacturing and engineering sectors.
With support from Transport Scotland, the agency has appointed Scottish Engineering to create an international rail cluster that will link Scottish SMEs with train manufacturers, contractors, academics, and research centres.
The 18-month project will be delivered by Shona Clive, who joins Scottish Engineering from Babcock International and will continue to lead Women in Rail Scotland. She said: “The Scottish Engineering team is well positioned to identify companies who are the right fit and can bring their own attributes to the table.
“In the current circumstances, this will begin life as a digital project with a number of events bringing the parties together online in the initial months. But the ambition is there within Scottish Enterprise for this to develop into a physical cluster of businesses and research centres in Scotland, collaborating to deliver a world class manufacturing capability in low carbon rail transport.
“It’s a real honour to be involved at this early stage in what promises to be a huge development for rail and engineering in Scotland, as well as creating more environmentally friendly railways for world markets.”
Commenting on the Scottish Government’s support for the scheme, Cabinet Secretary for Transport Michael Matheson said: “As we continue transition through the Scottish Government’s Routemap to Recovery it is clear we need to do all we can to boost the economy through green initiatives. This new rail cluster will make a significant impact to the rail industry and also Scottish businesses in the longer-term.
“Last month I launched our Rail Services Decarbonisation Action Plan which sets out in detail how the Scottish Government will decarbonise Scotland’s rail services by 2035, in line with last year’s Programme for Government commitment, and contributing towards our commitment to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.
“Together we have a once in a generation opportunity to not only stimulate innovation within the train manufacturing industry but also to create skilled, sustainable employment in Scotland through stable workbanks. This has corresponding benefits for up skilling the workforce, for more apprenticeships, for the development of talent, and for long-term employment security.
“Working together I am confident that Scotland can and will continue to lead the UK and global march to net-zero.”
Scottish Enterprise head of high-value manufacturing David Leven added: “This is an exciting development in Scotland’s fight against the climate emergency, and in building a new field for jobs and investment.
“The Cluster Builder will help to ensure that Scottish companies benefit from worldwide growth in the low carbon rail sector.
“The project will connect Scottish businesses with the country’s top manufacturing innovators, as well as connecting up supply chain partners.
“It will provide real opportunities for SMEs in Scotland, as well as contributing to our ambitions for more and better jobs and a green economic recovery.”
Scottish Engineering chief executive Paul Sheerin stated: “This is an excellent opportunity for Scotland’s engineering SME’s to add or grow rail sector involvement at a time when diversification is especially welcome, and all the more so given the target that the rail sector has set in Scotland to drive to zero carbon.
“This ambition marks this as a stand-out example of the sustainable manufacturing we are keen to grow, and we are also delighted to welcome Shona to lead this project, bringing with her a wealth of knowledge and connections in this sector.”