Weekly Update, 29th April 2013
Energy/ Business Services:
As we continue to see positive interest in Caithness from the energy sector, I met this week with representatives from Highlands & Islands Airports Ltd, HIE and Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd to discuss feedback from recent contact and to agree the key messages we will continue to take to companies in the sector about the value of doing business in the north.
Continuing work on developing our activities in support of skills this week: I met with local partners to discuss how we might best help people to understand and take advantage of some forthcoming opportunities in the “home-working” sector, where doing a range of skilled work from a home base can be an attractive option. I also met with North Highland College staff to further discuss ways of maximising the long-term sustainability of the excellent engineering apprenticeship course being run from the state-of-the-art Engineering Technology & Energy Centre.
North Highland College UHI is running an Open Day tomorrow (Saturday 4th) from 10am-3pm in Thurso. Information and advice will be available on College courses and how to apply, as well as the chance to chat with staff and students.
Aon Hewitt ran an informal event in Thurso this week to recognise their recent purchase of the Pensions Administration Office (PAO) at Forss. Around 30 staff at Forss administer most of the UK’s civil nuclear pensions. Now, as part of the wider Aon Hewitt business there is room for further growth, and senior Aon Hewitt executives were in Caithness to outline their very clear growth strategy for the Forss base.
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:
- Skills Development Scotland led a multi-partner meeting today (Friday 3rd) for former employees of Icetech Freezers Ltd. This PACE (partnership action for continuing employment) response offers support and advice to affected workers, aiming to move them back into employment as quickly as possible.
- HIE announced its year-end results for 2012-13 this week, with £80M invested across the Highlands & Islands and key announcements such as the contract with BT for the roll-out of superfast/ next generation broadband. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-22383009
- As the Digital Thurso Cinema welcomed its 50,000th customer following major upgrade work to Sony 4g and Dolby 7.1 sound, Caithness-based Maciej Winiarczyk has been working with Cinema owner Rob Arthur and his team using some of Maciej’s stunning footage of the Caithness night skies. The results of this work will soon be seen by Caithness cinema audiences, but in a real coup these stunning images of the north’s skies are currently on an innovative multi-screen display in Sony’s HQ building.