A NEW training academy is to provide 120 apprenticeships over the next two years for Scotland’s expanding renewable energy sector.

Ten apprentices have already been recruited at the facility, based at Steel Engineering in Renfrew, after 230 people applied when courses were first advertised last month.

First Minister Alex Salmond officially opened The Renewable Energy Skills Training Academy (TRESTA) today.

He said: "There is recognition within the energy industry of the need for additional skilled labour to meet the demands of Scotland's burgeoning renewable industry over the next five years and I am delighted to open Steel Engineering's TRESTA facility which will help the industry meet this ambition.

"The trainees entering this exciting centre can expect to become fully equipped to be an integral part of Scotland's renewable revolution.

"Developing a vibrant and sustainable renewable industry will significantly benefit both the environment and economy of Scotland."

He added: "TRESTA is a perfect example of how the public and private sector can work together quickly and decisively to deliver access to world-class training to meet Scotland's global energy ambition."

Steel Engineering's managing director Peter Breslin said: "We are delighted to welcome the First Minister to experience the work we do to ensure young people are given every opportunity to secure quality training for the renewable sector.

"As an Investors in People company, Steel Engineering is very proud to play a part in tackling youth employment issues and our modern apprentices are encouraged to reach their full potential.

"It is our intention to establish a TRESTA academy at every Steel Engineering location."

The academy plans to train a new generation of workers with the skills required for the renewable energy and steel trades sectors with JobCentre Plus tasked with finding jobs for every graduate.

Mr Salmond's visit came ahead of a Cabinet meeting which was being held in Renfrew Town Hall.