Matt Jacobs 2
Matt Jacobs
VP of Operations & Partnerships

Last month, X-Academy launched in Orkney with the hire of two new xccelerators who will be based in the Xodus Stromness office. While onboarding these new starts, I had the chance to engage with local businesses that are aligned with X-Academy’s mission to make a real tangible impact on delivering jobs at scale in Orkney, as the islands take full advantage of the energy transition projects that are developed in or serviced from the region.

Orkney offers an exceptional array of opportunities to enter its budding renewable energy sector. Whether it be the range of activities at Flotta, innovative research and development projects with EMEC, new offshore wind developments from the Scotwind leasing round, or the major projects associated with the island’s growth deal. There are clear, long-term employment prospects emerging for the local community. However, people need to see an opportunity to enter the sector, to be trained & professionally developed, and ultimately start delivering value across the entire supply chain; this is where X-Academy fits in.

X-Academy has taken the first step in developing the people who can add real momentum to energy activities in the region. The key to our approach is collaboration, which has been successfully shown by our partnerships and relationships to date across Scotland. We are already working with offshore wind developers, consultancies, supply chain companies, technology innovators and other skills bodies, who are all committed to working with X-Academy and progressing our mission to attract more people into the energy sector. This delivers value to them in the short term, whilst also tackling the broader industry challenge of skills capacity and ultimately contributing value to the entire sector. We believe this is collaboration in the truest sense of the word. This is our vision for Orkney – to partner with companies, to hire and develop more people, and to make a real difference to energy transition projects in the region.

Parker Hansen and Duncan Munro are our first Xccelerators to be recruited in Orkney, having both completed the MSc in Marine Renewable Energy at the Heriot-Watt campus based in Stromness. The wide variety of technical topics they covered in their MSc is in perfect alignment with how X-Academy develops its people, through experience and exposure to a breadth of different energy transition disciplines. However, it is also their commitment to taking the next step in their career in Orkney that makes them ideal people to launch our programme in the islands.

What was truly apparent from my discussions whilst in Orkney was the enthusiasm and motivation to realise this significant opportunity. With the offer of long-term employment, the energy transition could provide major social and economic benefits to the Orkney Islands. At X-Academy we are determined to make a positive impact on all the communities in which we operate. Being a part of this evolution of Orkney’s workforce demonstrates how we work to turn vision into reality.  


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