Weekly Update, 30th January 2012

Energy:

Good news for the local economy this week with confirmation of a further contract award for Subsea 7’s Wester facility near Wick. Congratulations to Willie Watt and his team on securing the $100 million contract to fabricate 2 pipelines for BP’s Clair Ridge project. The contract will help secure around 100 jobs at the Wester site. http://www.johnogroat-journal.co.uk/News/100m-Subsea-7-contract-secures-100-Caithness-jobs.htm

Local engineering/ supply chain companies held a careers event in North Highland College’s Engineering, Technology and Energy Centre last night (Thursday 2nd). There was an excellent turn-out with all of the company stands busy. The Partnership continues to look at ways of supporting employability and career information issues, and this event is an excellent example of an industry-led initiative.

Tourism:

I met with HIE’s Rachel Skene, Trudy Morris (Caithness Chamber), Tom Campbell and Elizabeth Gunn (North Highland Initiative), David Sutherland and Andy Mackay (Highland Council) and Joan Campbell (Federation of Small Businesses) to discuss the “Ambitious for Tourism – Caithness & North Sutherland” programme. We discussed a range of current activities, including NHI’s recent food & drink event in London, NHT and Caithness Chamber’s attendance at this year’s VisitScotland Expo, NHT’s successful Dornoch Firth Golf Pass initiative, Caithness Chamber’s “Spend It Here” card (the initial 2,000 of which have now been issued and a further 1,000 being printed), cruise ship business into Scrabster, and online marketing resources such as HIAL’s forthcoming film footage of Caithness. HIE hopes next month to issue a tender for the delivery of key elements of the programme. Further information on progress can be found at http://www.hie.co.uk/ATCNS

Also this week the John O’ Groat Journal carries an interesting feature on a number of new retail businesses in Wick Town centre, and their postive outlook for the future.¬† http://www.johnogroat-journal.co.uk/News/New-traders-upbeat-about-future-7586233.htm

Food & Drink:

Caithness Chamber’s Food & Drink event in Wick this week brought an encouraging range of food, drink and tourism businesses together to look at issues affecting the industry in the north, and considered how they might be addressed. Speakers included Mey Selections, Cocoa Mountain, Inver House/ Old Pulteney, Business Gateway, HIE and Scotland Food & Drink. Caithness Chamber will produce follow up materials later this month, which I hope will inform future partner activities.

The North Highland Initiative welcomed the Duke of Rothesay to an event held in the RAC Club in London to showcase the world class food and drink of our area. North companies Reid’s of Caithness, Caithness Biscuits, Mey Selections, Ackergill Tower, Ardgay Game, Highland Fine Cheeses and Glenmorangie were represented. The RAC Club’s chef used produce from the north to prepare dishes for buyers and chefs. NHI’s constituent bodies (North Highland Tourism and North Highland Products) have been supported by HIE and the NDA. Coverage of the event at http://www.johnogroat-journal.co.uk/News/RAC-event-showcases-fine-Caithness-food-01022012.htm

Enabling Activities:
Caithness Chamber of Commerce, in association with Highland Council, Business Gateway and DSRL are hosting a workshop on public procurement. The event will be held on Thursday 9th February at T3UK from 12.30-4.30pm – for more info contact info@caithnesschamber.com

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: