Weekly Update, 13th May 2013
Energy/ Business Services:
I met this week with colleagues from HIE, Highland Council, Environmental Research Institute, Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd and business representatives to discuss the evolving concept of an “International Marine Energy Delivery (IMED)” campus in Caithness. It was clear from the meeting that there is a considerable amount of work currently being undertaken in the north that is ready for wider international attention, including the academic work being taken forward by the ERI and European partners, and the international work being undertaken by area businesses. The IMED concept seeks to build a “cluster” of businesses and organisations around this. We discussed practical actions to take forward on several key areas, and hope to produce material that summarises the approach.
Also this week I have been working with partners from Highland Council, HIE, Energy North and Caithness Chamber to arrange a visit next week from representatives from National Grid.
Caithness Chamber of Commerce, in association with SSE, will be running a “Meet The Buyer” event on Thursday 13th June to help highlight business opportunities available through SSE. There will be presentations on its online “Open 4 Business” portal, and from Achilles and SSE Tier 1 contractors. The event is preceded by a business networking event on Wednesday 12th June. Registration for each event is at http://caithnesschamber.com/events/sse-open4business-caithness-networking-event and http://caithnesschamber.com/events/open4business-caithness-meet-the-buyer-event
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:
- On Monday next week – the start of Scottish Apprenticeship Week – I will attend the meeting of the Highland Council’s Caithness & Sutherland Area Committee, where I will be working with colleagues from Skills Development Scotland, North Highland College and Caithness Chamber of Commerce to present current work on ensuring that the area is able to anticipate and address the skills requirements of key sectors of the economy. A press release on the meeting’s agenda points is at http://www.highland.gov.uk/yourcouncil/news/newsreleases/2013/May/2013-05-15-08.htm and the agenda for the meeting is at http://www.highland.gov.uk/yourcouncil/committees/caithnesssutherlandandeasterrossmeetings/caithnesssutherlandareacommittee/2013-05-20-csac-ag.htm The meeting will also be webcast, starting at 10.30am at http://www.highland.public-i.tv/core/
- As mentioned in last week’s message, a report on CNSRP was presented to last week’s meeting of the full Highland Council. The webcast of the meeting is now available to view, and the CNSRP item can be selected from the interactive menu at http://www.highland.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/85879
- I met Nicole Wallace, Highland Council’s LEADER Programme Manager, in Inverness last week as a booklet on the successful Highland LEADER Programme 2007-13 was launched. Encouraging to note the number of projects supported in the north since the start of the programme – 44 projects in Caithness (£1.5M from LEADER) and 48 projects in Sutherland (£1.8M from LEADER). On a similar theme Highland Councillors in Caithness have recently approved over £45,000 from discretionary budgets to groups and organisations. The Northern Times also carries news of £118,000 of awards from the Gordonbush community benefit fund established by Scottish Hydro http://www.northern-times.co.uk/News/Over-118000-disbursed-from-Gordonbush-fund-14052013.htm
- I also met this week with Neil Robertson and John MacBean from Graham & Sibbald, the firm of Chartered Surveyors who now operate the Forss Business & Technology Park. We discussed the company’s positive current and forward plans for the Park, and their wider view of business space in the north in the context of the economic transition process taking place in the area.