Weekly update, 24th January

Week commencing 24th January
I met with Caithness area Highland Councillors and HIE’s Area Manager Roy Kirk to discuss the ongoing issues regarding the future of the tax office in Wick, which is scheduled for closure in 2012. HIE remains keen to incorporate the skills represented in the Wick office into its developing campaigns for inward investment in the priority “business services” sector.

 
I met with colleagues from North Highland College’s computing department and representatives from local IT companies to discuss the shape of future computing course provision at North Highland College, taking into account what we know of the area’s potential strengths in areas of the economy such as energy and business services.  I described some of the ongoing work being done through the network of local STEM ambassadors, which will be of interest to the College team. The two business representatives also described the kind of value their organisations derive from the skills taught through the computing course. Developing this form of economic intelligence-gathering will help to support the College team’s work in providing appropriate learning opportunities in the future.
I also met with North Highland College marketing staff to discuss how we can better communicate some of the significant progress being made at NHC with activities that support the wider economic transition process with which we are all involved.
Advance notice that on Wednesday 2nd February Stagecoach and The Highland Council will be running drop-in consultation sessions on proposed new timetables for Stagecoach bus routes within Caithness and North Sutherland, and from Caithness to and from Inverness. At the same time Highland Council staff will be consulting on publicly-tendered routes in the area before a retendering exercise is held. The sessions will be at British Legion Thurso (10am-12pm) the Norseman Hotel, Wick (2-4pm) and Lybster Daycare Centre (7.30-9pm). Transport connectivity remains an important issue for us.