Our expert line up of speakers include the below:

Christina MacLeod

Cluster Development Project Manager - SpaceScotland

Christina MacLeod is the Cluster Development Project Manager for Space Scotland, a not-for-profit company formed through an industry-led group seeking to develop the space sector in Scotland. Here, she is managing the ‘Developing a Sustainable Scottish Space Sector’ project, which was awarded funding through the UK Space Agency Space Cluster Development Fund. The work packages encompass sustainability initiatives that deliver on aspects of the Space Sustainability Roadmap, skills development initiatives, and cross-sector accelerators to expand the space sector. Previously, Christina founded and chaired the online Edinburgh Women in Space Conference, which saw over 700 attendees attend the three-day conference from all around the world. The conference highlighted numerous women’s careers in the space sector – from engineering to marketing, showcased different aspects of the Scottish space sector, and hosted workshops to improve confidence in choosing a career in space. Christina’s background is in mechanical engineering, as she graduated from the University of Edinburgh in 2021.

Lorna Slater

- Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity

Lorna Slater MSP was appointed as Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity in August 2021.

Lorna Slater was born, raised and educated in Canada. She moved to Scotland in 2000 after earning a master's degree in Engineering from the University of British Columbia.
Prior to being elected in 2021, Lorna worked as an engineer, and then a project manager in the renewables sector. During this time, she worked on the Orbital O2 project, the world's biggest floating tidal turbine.

Lorna has been a Member of the Scottish Parliament for Lothian since May 2021. She was elected as a co-leader of the Scottish Green Party in August 2019.

Dr Victoria Hands

Director of Sustainability - The Open University

Dr Victoria Hands is a sustainability expert who empowers individuals and organisations to discover and adopt regenerative practices so they can transform their actions for sustainability. She promotes, trains, and coaches on implementation of long-term, preventative, inclusive, collaborative and integrated approaches. She has led sustainability initiatives in universities for fourteen years influencing teaching, research, and operations, having spent seven years delivering collaborative partnership projects. Victoria oversees The Open University’s policy, governance, data, reporting and implementation, and clarifies roles and objectives to ensure progress is aligned with the University’s sustainability ambitions.

Sam Hesling

Environmental Engineering Contracts Manager - McGowan Environmental Engineering

Sam is a Chartered Engineer and Contracts Manager. His career has been split between 11 years in Renewable Energy, and 12 years in Contracting. His current role is as a Contracts Manager for McGowan Environmental Engineering Ltd, based in Aviemore in the Scottish Highlands, running environmental restoration contracts across Scotland and further afield.

Paul Wheelhouse

Head of Energy Transition - South of Scotland Enterprise

Paul Wheelhouse is Head of Energy Transition at South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE) and is chairing SOSE’s Energy Transition Group as it develops an Energy Transition Plan for the region covering Dumfries and Galloway and Scottish Borders. Paul, who was an economic consultant for 18 years prior to representing the larger South Scotland for 10 years in the Scottish Parliament, served as Scotland’s Energy Minister over the period from 2016 until 2021, and Minister for Environment and Climate Change between 2012 and 2014. In his time as Energy Minister, Paul oversaw development of Scotland’s first Energy Strategy in 2017, first Onshore Wind Policy Statement, policy position on not supporting Unconventional Oil and Gas, Scotland’s first Hydrogen Policy Statement, Sectoral Marine Plan for Offshore Wind, Heat Networks (Scotland) Act 2021 and draft £33 Billion Heat in Buildings Strategy.

Paul was ministerial co-chair of the Scottish Government’s energy-related Strategic Leadership Groups, and he co-chaired the Scottish Offshore Wind Energy Council and chaired the Scottish Marine Energy Industry Working Group. In 2019, Paul was awarded the ‘Outstanding Contribution’ Award at Scottish Renewables annual ‘Scottish Green Energy Awards’.

Fiona Jackson

Associate - Equal Engineers

Fiona’s varied career has spanned both 20 years in commercial roles in the Energy Sector at British Gas, East Midlands Electricity, and more recently EDF

In 2009 she founded a Women’s Network at a UK energy company, which she built and successfully ran for 5 years. This led to a role as Head of Diversity, Inclusion and Employer Branding which she held for 6 years supporting the renewables team, nuclear operations and new build teams to focus on inclusion and diversity. During this time she held strategic advisory roles as a member on the Royal Academy of Engineering Diversity Leadership Group and the EY National Equality Standard Development Board.

Since 2019 she has worked as an independent diversity and inclusion consultant and is an associate with Equal Engineers, an organisation that aims to increase inclusivity in the engineering and technology sectors. They believe in bridging the diversity gap and ensuring all talents, regardless of background, have equal opportunities.

Kirsty Connell-Skinner MA(Hons) MBA(Exec)

Programme Manager for the Housing, Construction and Infrastructure - HCI Skills Gateway

Economist and communications expert working in sustainable construction and inclusive growth. An outstanding collaborator and strategic thinker, Kirsty facilitates innovative education programmes in further and higher education in partnership with the construction industry.

Kirsty manages the Housing, Construction & Infrastructure Skills Gateway, a £6 million investment from the UK and Scottish Governments dedicated to increasing and diversifying employment in construction across Edinburgh and South-East Scotland.

Based at Edinburgh Napier University, she combines over a decade of experience in philanthropic fundraising with innovative management techniques gained from her MBA at the Quantic School of Business & Technology, Washington DC, to drive forward public and private investment in the next generation of engineering, computing and business professionals.

Passionate about empowering change and delivering equality as a feminist and activist, Kirsty is a Trustee of the Scottish Women’s Budget Group and former Chair of the Scottish Fundraising Standards Panel, the self-regulatory body for charity fundraising in Scotland, as well as an active trade unionist.

She adores her young son and her two pedigree British Shorthair cats, whom with her husband have all recently relocated to the Scottish Highlands.

Kirsty Duncan

Head of Stakeholder Engagement - BE-ST

Kirsty is responsible for BE-ST’s stakeholder engagement programme which will create positive social, environmental, and economic impact and will focus on growing the BE-ST brand nationally and internationally. Kirsty’s experience is within developing skills programmes and digital learning design and will be using this knowledge to grow and deepen relationships with a focus on skills infrastructure.

Annie Robinson

Project Officer (Scotland) - Chartered Institute for Ecology and Environmental Management

Annie joined CIEEM after years of working in research on environmental drivers of change, in particular invasive species, although latterly working as a research fellow on citizen science and pollinators. Passionate about science communication and engagement she supports CIEEM members in Scotland in a variety of different ways and raises the profile of CIEEM in Scotland.

Graeme Rough

Head of STEM Programmes - SSERC

During my working life I have spent time in industry and education, firstly as a Mechanical Services Engineer before moving on to study a full time BSc Honours degree in Physics. On graduating I then completed the PGDE in Secondary Education - Physics and Science. I spent eleven years in front-line education, delivering the many Physics and Science courses available in Scottish schools. My most recent post in teaching was Faculty Leader of Science at Wallace High in Stirling. In March 2019 I moved on to Project Manage the Young STEM Leader Programme at SSERC - a government funded initiative where young people are mobilised to act as positive role models in STEM. My current role at SSERC is Head of STEM Programmes, working as part of the extended Senior Management Team with specific responsibility for the range of STEM Engagement programmes we offer.

Dr Emma Plato

STEM Engagement Manager - Science Skills Academy - Highlands and Islands Enterprise

Emma is passionate about improving people's lives and the communities they live in through engagement with STEM (Science Technology, Engineering and Maths). Emma is currently seconded from the Glasgow Science Centre to work with the Science Skills Academy at Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

The Science Skills Academy delivers hands-on practical STEM activities to P6-S2 students in the Highlands and Islands. We run sessions in bespoke Newton Rooms, which are tailored to complement STEM industries in the local community.

Our aim is for the sessions to excite and inspire students, and encourage them to study STEM subjects at school and beyond. We also introduce students to the wide variety of STEM career pathways, both in general and in the Highlands and Islands region.

Stuart Hawthorn

Area Sales Manager for Electrified Solutions - BOSCH Home Comfort Group

Stuart is an engineering graduate but worked with a national Plumbing & Heating merchant for nearly 25 years, in sales and management roles. Around 13 years ago Stuart diversified into Energy Efficiency and Renewables, creating a new role within the company and ultimately paving the way for a whole Energy Efficiency team. Over those 13 years Stuart worked with all renewable technologies, alongside most of the key manufacturers and interacted with installers, developers and local authorities.

Stuart now Area Sales Manager for Electrified Solutions at Bosch Home Comfort Group. Covering Scotland and involved in shaping a business as we bring the wide range of Bosch renewable products to the UK market. Most people in the UK think of Worcester Bosch as a market leader in gas and oil boilers but there is so much more to the Bosch Group and as the country transitions to low carbon technologies we are bringing a range of solutions to market supported by the Worcester Bosch technical and after sales network.

Jim Brown

Director - Energy Skills Partnership

Jim Brown is the Director of ESP, a collaboration of Scotland’s colleges which was
established in 2011 to provide the link between industry, government and its
agencies whilst supporting colleges in the development and delivery of programmes
to meet industry’s skills needs with a focus on the Climate Emergency and Just
Transition to Net Zero.

Jim has a wealth of experience in the energy industry with roles including Head of
Renewables at Energy and Utility Skills where he was charged with working with
industry and governments across the four nations to develop skills interventions to
support the renewable energy sector.

Jim was also seconded into Scottish Government to develop and deliver their
Renewable Energy Skills Framework for Action. He is currently the Skills Lead for the
Scottish Offshore Wind Energy Council (SOWEC) and an active member of the
Offshore Wind Industry Council’s Investment in Talent Group and the Energy Skills

Dr Su Bryan

Faculty of Science, Health and the Environment - University of Highlands and Islands

Dr. Su Bryan is the Faculty of Science, Health and Engineering at UHI. With a background in ecology, Su has a strong interest in promoting careers in STEM and is currently leading the expansion of UHI’s STEM outreach programme, in collaboration with industry partners. She chairs the Highlands and Islands STEM Partnership.

Dilraj Sokhi Watson

Director - Equate Scotland

Dilraj is the Director of Equate Scotland, which is a national policy, research and development organisation focussing on women’s underrepresentation within the science, engineering, technology, and the built environment industries. As programme lead, she directs the work of Equate Scotland through financial, strategic, people and policy management. Dilraj has worked in senior programme management, policy development and executive positions across a diverse range of not-for-profit organisations.

With grounding in business administration and carbon management, Dilraj brings cross sector experience in urban development with subject matter expertise on the themes of environment, poverty, and social capital (with a focus on gender mainstreaming).

As a trained project manager her core competencies are strategic planning and execution, evidence driven programme management, change management and fundraising. Dilraj is currently a member of Scotland’s AI Alliance Leadership Group and Climate Emergency Skills Action Plan Implementation Steering Group, along with ongoing trustee responsibilities in local and international organisations. Dilraj’s work has been always guided by her personal values- rights based and intersectional.

Wayne Dyson

Business Development Manager - Institute Of The Motor Industry

With a career in the motor industry spanning 34 years, Wayne brings a wealth of knowledge from his time spent as a master technician and automotive lecturer. Now working for the IMI as business development manager for the north and Scotland.

Dr Tarek Rashwan

Lecturer in Sustainability and the Smart Environment - The Open University

Dr. Tarek Rashwan a Lecturer in Sustainability and the Smart Environment at The Open University. He is currently researching a range of environmental engineering topics that support a low-carbon and circular economy, such as assessing hydrogeological conditions for safe used nuclear fuel storage, large-scale hydrogen storage systems, and scaling-up a novel thermochemical waste-to-energy technique based on smouldering combustion. These projects primarily focus on understanding heat and mass transfer dynamics in porous media systems via experimental, analytical, and numerical methods. He has numerous ongoing collaborations with academic and industry colleagues internationally and within Scotland.

Kathrin Möbius

Sustainability in Learning & Teaching Project Officer - EAUC

Kathrin joined the EAUC Scotland in 2022 as Sustainability in Learning & Teaching Project Officer. Her role includes supporting teaching staff to integrate sustainability by coordinating events, setting up networks, and producing resources and research. Recent work also includes the development of a Green Careers Guide for college and university students.

Originally from Germany, Kathrin has studied and worked in six countries across Europe and Central America and holds degrees in Psychology and Adult Education for Social Change. Previous research includes the creation of a framework for integrating responsibility and sustainability into business education. In her current as well as previous roles, lastly as Inclusion & Climate Action Officer for a community development organisation in a deprived area of Glasgow, Kathrin has always found herself passionately advocating for a fairer world – for both people and planet.

Dr Helen McKay

Chief Forester for Scotland - Scottish Forestry

Dr Helen McKay first joined Forest Research in 1988 as a plant pathologist to improve the physiological quality of planting stock. Over the following 12 years, her remit expanded to cover seedling morphology, seed nutrition and wider nutritional sustainability. She became a specialist adviser for Corporate and Forestry Support for the Forestry Commission where she advised on and commissioned research on a range of topics. In 2007, Helen returned to Forest Research and has been Head of the Centre for Sustainable Forestry and Climate Change since 2009. She is a Fellow of the ICF and has been editor of the ICF's scientific journal "Forestry"; an international journal of forest research, since 2002. Helen is also a member of the Trust's Projects and Research Committee.

Judith Cruickshank

Managing Director, Commercial Mid Market - Royal Bank of Scotland

Judith Cruickshank has worked with Royal Bank of Scotland for 15 years in a variety of roles, focused on customer solutions for both Retail and Commercial customers. She is currently MD Commercial Mid Market Banking, Scotland, Chair of the One Bank Scotland Board and Climate Sponsor for CMM. She is particularly passionate about helping business and personal customers prepare for the future through building financial capability and transitioning to a lower carbon world.

Prior to joining the bank she worked in oil and gas for Shell International and for Marakon Strategy Consultants, with experience in both Asia and Europe.

Outside of the bank, Judith is a member of Heriot Watt University Finance Committee, a Director of Scottish EDGE and of SFE (Scottish Financial Enterprise) and is the Chair of Business in the Community’s (BITC) Scotland Leadership Board.

David Reid

Co-Founder - Powering Futures

David Reid is the Co-founder of business transformation enterprise, Powering Futures. A former Vice-President of global professional services company Jacobs, David decided 34years ago to spend time on roles which allows him to focus on opportunities which ‘ignite his passion’. This culminated in co-founding Powering Futures, an organisation which engaged the next generation to create a pipeline of talent for organisations transitioning to Net Zero.

Whilst David has a transportation background he worked across all infrastructure sectors within Jacobs European business including Head of Rail and subsequently Head of Strategy and Growth based mainly in London. David’s approach is to adopt a similar global mindset to Powering Futures and support his team in growing from the successful Scottish base internationally.

He has also been a director of Stenhousemuir Football Club for over 35 years which included the Chairman’s position for 8 years.

Morven Fancey

Head of Universities, Skills & Population - Highlands & Islands Enterprise (HIE)

Morven Fancey is Head of Universities, Skills & Population at Highlands & Islands Enterprise (HIE) - the regional economic development agency for the northern half of Scotland - where she has over 30 years’ experience of economic and regional development. Her current responsibilities include developing the university and skills system in line with regional needs and developing HIE’s approach to addressing depopulation, with a strong emphasis on housing.

Ivan Clark

Nature-based Jobs and Skills Manager - NatureScot

Ivan Clark is Nature-based Jobs and Skills Manager at NatureScot, Scotland’s Nature Agency. A Chartered Town Planner with a background in ecology, Ivan has worked in a number of roles in NatureScot and on secondment with local authorities. He is currently working with a range of partners to ensure we have a workforce that can deliver the transformation in land management needed to realise Scotland’s ambition for Nature Restoration set out in the recently published Scottish Biodiversity Strategy. He is also engaging with Careers Services and with Higher Education Institutions to raise awareness of Nature-based Jobs and ensure there is a pipeline of new talent coming into the sector.

Lauren Braidwood

Project Manager - Energy Transition Zone Ltd

With a MSc Exploration Geophysics and demonstrable background working in the oil and gas
industry as a Service Director, Lauren is a Project Manager with ETZ Ltd.  ETZ Ltd is an organisation
focused on repositioning the North East of Scotland as a globally recognised integrated energy
cluster focussed on the delivery of net zero which brings sustainable jobs and growth for the region. 
In her current role, Lauren leads on the jobs and skills plan to ensure skills development is a central to
Aberdeen’s Energy Transition Zone project and the wider regional energy transition.  She also
manages the National Energy Skills Accelerator, bringing Aberdeen and shire’s educational
institutions together with industry to better understand and respond to energy transition
opportunities.  Lauren is a leading skills advocate who is driving forward innovative projects
preparing the workforce for the energy transition by providing access to new skills and capabilities
needed for the move to net zero.

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