LISTEN: Francesca Osowska gives the background into
Analysis from Nature Scot finds that Scotland’s rural economy is proving its important role in the country.
Their report shows that the ‘sector grew at more than five times the rate of all jobs in Scotland in the period 2015-19, accounting for one third of all job growth in Scotland over the period.’
Nature Scot’s Chief Executive, Francesca Osowska, said: “This report is a vital step in demonstrating the potential for nature-based jobs to help us build back better as we emerge from this pandemic – ensuring a green recovery and securing a longer-term transition towards a net-zero economy.”
They say that ‘nature-based jobs already make a significant contribution to the Scottish economy, amounting to at least 195,000 jobs or 7.5% of Scotland’s workforce in 2019.’
Looking towards the local economy’s input, Francesca Osowska added: “I know of some of the great Perthshire brands and places that provide the whiskey distillery in Aberfeldy, the brilliant wildlife tourism operators either in Dull or other places and further afield across Highland Perthshire.
“And I can assure you that the nature-based sector will be really important and positive for Highland Perthshire as we go forward.”
Nature based jobs are wide ranging, including tree planting, peatland restoration, distillery’s, tourism and more.
Francesca Osowska explained: “That includes things like woodland planting, it includes peatland restoration, but it also includes agriculture, it includes tourism and wildlife tourism which relies on the fantastic nature assets that Scotland has.
“It includes food and drink which also really on a really strong nature sector, if you think of whiskey, Scotland’s iconic drink, that relies on pure water, it relies on nature to ensure that the water supply is positive.
“Food production, it all relies on a really positive and thriving nature sector.”
It’s thought that this increase in these types of jobs will help tackle the challenge of de-population, an issue Perth and Kinross as a whole is facing, with a 62.2% raise in nature-based jobs in mainly rural areas.
That’s opposed to the 30.2% rise in ‘island and remote areas’.
Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “In these challenging times, it is more important than ever that we focus on designing a better future for ourselves and for future generations.
“That is why we are committed to delivering a just, fair and green recovery from this pandemic, where we work towards Scotland’s world leading net zero targets in a way that leaves no one behind.
“Understanding the enormous contribution that nature-based jobs can make to our economy is an important step in achieving this.
“In our Programme for Government we committed to producing an assessment of the nature-based jobs needed to inform the transition to a net zero economy in Scotland, precisely because this is a fast-growing sector with significant potential.”
Now the challenge facing the rural economy is ‘diversity in the workforce’ claims the report.
Pointing at the ‘low female employment’ across many fields, an ‘ageing workforce’ in some areas and a general ‘lack of data on ethnic minority employment.’