Weekly update, 17th November

Energy & Business services:

A representative from a large engineering company visited the area this week, and was able to see at first hand the range of companies, facilities and opportunities available in the area. We had an extremely productive discussion on oil & gas and renewables opportunities.

The MeyGen project is well represented at next week’s 5th International Tidal Awards event in London. Atlantis Resources Ltd has been nominated for “Outstanding Industry Achievement”; MeyGen has been nominated for “Best Project”; contractor James Fisher Marine Services has been nominated for “Most Supportive Supply Chain Company” and sub-contractor Mojo Maritime has been nominated for “Best Technological Innovation”. The awards are held as part of the International Tidal Energy Summit, which has been held in London for the past seven years, and has been a very useful platform to raise awareness of opportunities in the tidal sector in the north. More information is at http://www.tidaltoday.com/tidal-conference/awards.php

Tourism, Food & Drink:

It was great to hear that Dunnet Bay Distillery won an award this week. Claire Murray was in London to accept the award for Export and Innovation from the “Excellence in Women’s Enterprise Mentoring” awards run by MentorsMe, the UK-wide online portal for SME mentoring. More information on MentorsMe is at http://www.mentorsme.co.uk

Enabling activities:

Transport Scotland is holding a public exhibition on its latest plans for the re-alignment of the A9 at Berriedale. The exhibition will be held at Berriedale Parish Church next Wednesday 26th November from 12pm – 7pm. You can view the latest Draft Road Order plans supporting documents at http://www.transportscotland.gov.uk/project/a9-berriedale-braes-improvement-scheme

CNSRP partner the NDA is holding a public exhibition next week on plans for its proposed Archive building on land at Wick Industrial Estate. The complex will house both the NDA’s Nuclear Archive and CNSRP partner the Highland Council’s North Highland Archive. The event will take place at the Pulteney Centre, Huddart Street, Wick, from 2pm – 6pm on Tuesday 25th November.

Drop in sessions and workshops for the Caithness & Sutherland Local development Plan continue next week in  Ross Institute, Halkirk (Tues 25th November); Wick Town Hall (Wednesday 26th); Tongue Village Hall (Thursday 27th) . Drop in sessions are from 2-5.30pm and workshops are from 6.30pm each day. This week’s first event in Thurso was very well attended by a range of individuals and organisations keen to find out more about the plan, and to offer comments. Other dates and times for the series of events are at http://www.highland.gov.uk/casplan

I also met this week with local employability organisations to update on some very productive current work with both employers and job seekers, as well as discussing how even better use can be made of our collective ability to support employment growth. We also heard an interim update from Louise Calder, the Intern being employed by DSRL to help us articulate the overall employability “offer” in the north.

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:

  • HIE’s Chairman Lorne Crerar and Chief Executive Alex Paterson were in the area this week, and visited a number of key sites as well as hosting a business breakfast in Halkirk which attracted a range of local businesses and social enterprises. Both Lorne and Alex commented on the sense of confidence evident in the business community, and were pleased at the range and depth of discussions that took place.