The transport industry is one of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases in the UK. Scotland's transport sector employs around 190,000 people across a variety of roles. 


A drawing of an electric car with a plug coming out of it

Your prospects in a transport career

The transport industry is reducing its environmental impact by switching to low emission vehicles, electric railways and both battery and hydrogen powered trains.

To help it build a greener infrastructure, roads, railways, domestic aviation, shipping and aircraft support vehicles all require people with a variety of new skills.

Cars, taxis and public transport

The switch to Zero & Ultra Low Emissions Vehicles (ULEV) for taxis, public transport and household cars means we’ll need more people to offer maintenance and breakdown services. This includes charging points for electric vehicles. 

Using more hydrogen and electrically powered technologies will also create new servicing job opportunities. However, with only 31% of maintenance technicians currently skilled to service electric or hybrid vehicles, there is significant demand for skilled workers in this area.

Flights and ferries

Similarly, flights, ferries and other shipping modals will be decarbonised in Scotland by 2040. To achieve this, the transport industry needs people to assist in the development of renewable fuel and the maintenance of other new ULEV.


How to break into a transport career

As the transport industry works to increase the use of electrical lines and new technologies, it will require a stable stream of engineering and motor professionals.

Professional roles will require you to build on your skillsets at either college or university. Scotland’s colleges and universities offer a range of transport and automotive related courses.


A Modern Apprenticeship in either Automotive or Bus and Coach Engineering and Maintenance will mean you can earn whilst gaining a qualification. Or you could choose an alternative transport pathway, such as:
  • Road Vehicle Engineering
  • Vehicle Maintenance/Repair/Servicing
  • Motor Trade Operations

Professional roles

While the sector has established entry programmes for new workers, demand can be expected for people to fill both professional and technical roles. These include:
  • electrical engineering
  • power control
  • rail electrification
  • signalling
  • controlling systems
Professional roles will require you to build on your skillsets at either college or university. Scotland’s colleges and universities offer a range of transport and automotive related courses.


Brand new opportunities

The expanding transport workforce means new job roles are being created. Many of these roles can be accessed by building on your existing skillsets, particularly if you’re an engineer or technician already.
These include:
  • hybrid technology engineers
  • sensor engineers
  • battery technicians 
  • quality control inspectors
To manage carbon offset, other professionals will be required too, including:
  • environmental consultants
  • carbon assessors
  • environmental lawyers
  • air quality technicians 
All these opportunities can be accessed either via apprenticeships, full-time or part-time education. 


Transport can help us build a circular economy

Transport can play a huge role as Scotland creates a circular economy.  

Re-manufacturing engines and re-treading tyres are 2 major changes the industry can make. Reusing an engine uses up to 85% less carbon than making a new one and can even increase a vehicle’s performance.  

Electric vehicles can be made lighter, meaning less materials are used to build them. This new way of building vehicles will reduce 89 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. 

Green courses in transport

The Open University runs a free online course which explores the issues around sustainable transport, as well as many other transport-related courses.

You could also learn about the future of green public transport through Future Learn’s handy online course.

A diagram of some green industries

Further information

For further information about the job roles, including sub-sectors and courses available, visit For apprenticeships, visit Skills For Logistics.

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