Weekly Update, 15th August 2011

Business Services:

HIE are holding four information events across the north next week to offer advice to anyone interested in part-time or full-time work based from home. Increasingly companies are looking at this way of working, given the range of work that can be done through broadband connectivity. The informal events are at Weigh Inn Hotel, Thurso (Monday 22nd, 11am-5pm); Assynt centre, Lochinver (Tuesday 23rd, 11am-3pm); Norseman Hotel, Wick (Wednesday 24th, 11am-5pm); and Sutherland Arms Hotel, Golspie (Thursday 25th, 11am-3pm). These are drop-in sessions, so no booking is necessary. Further information from annemarie.monteforte@hient.co.uk

Enabling Activities:

The Caithness and North Sutherland Marketing Plan has been updated, and is now available to view and download at http://www.cnsrp.org.uk/files/downloads/download1905.pdf. The Plan outlines the approach being taken by CNSRP partner HIE to attract inward investment to the area. It has been updated by Simon Coles, who is on a 12 month secondment to HIE from Babcock, focusing on inward investment leads generated by a series of research studies carried out for HIE.

An online questionnaire will be issued to DSRL staff and Dounreay contractor staff next week, to help inform the study being carried out into the economic and socio-economic impacts of Dounreay Decommissioning. Responses will help the independent economic consultants give a fuller picture of changes to the local economy since a baseline study was carried out in 2006, in turn helping the CNSRP partners with future planning and delivery of their activities. The study is being jointly funded by HIE and NDA/ DSRL.

I have also been working with colleagues on issues to be addressed by a HITRANS-funded study into “internal” transport infrastructure in Caithness, looking in particular at “pressure points” in moving plant & equipment around the area, and to ports and harbours.

Communications:

As part of an ongoing process of helping communicate progress with the delivery of aspects of our economic transition programme CNSRP’s partners work together to generate news stories for local, regional and national media. I also speak on a regular basis to individuals and organisations across the area to update on progress. This week:

  • The Partnership’s Advisory Board and the Delivery Group both met. The Advisory Board members had an encouraging update on progress with the “Make the Right Connections” programme from Project Coordinator Marcus Mennie. The Advisory Board also heard an update from HIE that the additional funding of £12M announced back in 2007 had now been fully committed. You can view the press statement on the latter topic, issued following the meeting, at http://www.highland.gov.uk/yourcouncil/news/newsreleases/2011/August/2011-08-19-05.htm and you can also view the minute of the previous Advisory Board meeting of 31st May, including the joint question & answer session with members of the CNSRP Executive Board, which is now online at http://www.cnsrp.org.uk/files/downloads/download1909.pdf
  • BBC’s news website has carried coverage of one of the PhD research posts being advertised as part of the MaREE programme at North Highland College. The programme was funded by HIE, UHI, ERDF and this post will research surface active substances in Thurso Bay and the Pentland Firth http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-14448068