Weekly Update, 19th July 2010

  • I have met separately with colleagues from HIE, NDA and Caithness Chamber of Commerce as I work to produce a revised version of the regeneration programme, following the meeting of the partners in Inverness on 2nd July. The Partnership’s Senior Officers’ Group met this week, to discuss progress with the activities we are prioritising through the programme.
  • The Socio-economic subgroup of the Dounreay Stakeholders’ Group met, and discussed a number of issues including the future of the Viewfirth project, the socio-economic element of the Dounreay PBO competition and requests for funding from the Dounreay Communities Fund. I deliver an update to this group on behalf of a range of agencies. You can view a copy of the report at http://www.dounreaystakeholdergroup.org/files/downloads/download1460.pdf
  • Together with colleagues from NDA, Chamber of Commerce and Job Centre Plus I met with staff from North Highland College to discuss a forthcoming programme being developed at the College to help encourage an enterprise culture amongst College students. This fits well with the wider transition programme I have described in recent updates, and helps move us further toward the point where we have a fully-integrated local support system to encourage and foster entrepreneurial activities, and to develop the skills and aptitudes required to succeed in a business environment.
  • The small working group looking at our Workforce Transition project also met this week to discuss in more detail what is required to deliver a funded programme of work. We are now working towards the Stage 2 deadline of mid-August for the European Social Fund. We have agreed on the areas still requiring work, and are now pursuing these amongst the partners.
  • I was also fortunate enough to be able to visit the offices of Mowat Technical & Design Services at the Forss Business & Technology Park. James Mowat and his team are doing some really exciting work, and are one of a number of local companies successfully looking beyond Dounreay for future business opportunities. The visit came about after MTDS’s Steve Foster and I recently spoke at the Renewables event organised in Caithness Horizons by the local branch of the British Science Association. (see report on this at  http://www.caithness-science.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&layout=blog&id=6&Itemid=58)
  • Finally, a belated congratulations to Willie Watt and the team at Subsea 7 for landing two major pipeline contracts from BP and Apache North Sea. (see http://www.johnogroat-journal.co.uk/news/fullstory.php/aid/8393/Wester_deals_bring_major_boost_for_jobs.html). The Wester site continues to be a major asset for Caithness – Willie is a tireless ambassador for Caithness, and for Caithness as a location from which to do business.