Weekly update, 14th September

Energy & Business Services

As mentioned last week local colleagues from CNSRP partner Skills Development Scotland and North Highland College UHI were in Aberdeen on Wednesday to take part in the major PACE event (Partnership Action for Continuing Employment). The event attracted around 1,000 workers affected by the issues in the North Sea oil & gas industry. It was good to see the local representatives’ stands, which featured a range of information on job opportunities in the north (including at Dounreay and Denchi Power) featured in the BBC TV coverage of the event on Wednesday evening.

Enabling Activities

As mentioned last week, SSE’s Scottish Hydro Electric Transmission company ran two consultation events in Caithness this week, to seek public views on options for siting a switching station to support the High Voltage DC system that is currently being installed between Caithness and Moray. This arrangement makes use of capacity available in the Caithness-Moray subsea cable to allow onward connection to the existing onshore transmission network in Moray with minimum new infrastructure. To connect with the Caithness-Moray system, a switching station is required in the vicinity of the planned cable landfall which is north of the village of Staxigoe in Caithness. The switching station would allow the flow of electricity to be managed between 3 underground HVDC circuits – one from a converter station at Spittal in Caithness, one from a converter station in Shetland and one to a converter station in Moray. You can view the information posters used at the event, and submit online comments on the options, at https://www.ssepd.co.uk/CaithnessHVDC/

Two events are being run by CNSRP partner HIE next month – the first is a two day course in Inverness giving a general Introduction to Exporting, aimed at companies considering exporting for the first time. Details on how to book a place are at http://www.hie.co.uk/about-hie/events/archive/01-10-2015-preparing-to-export–general.html The second course (also in Inverness) is being run by TWI on behalf of HIE and Scottish Enterprise, as part of the Nuclear Supply Chain programme. Details on how to register for “Winning Business in the Nuclear Sector” are at http://www.twi-global.com/news-events/events/winning-business-in-the-nuclear-market/

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:

  • Following discussions at recent meetings of the Caithness Transport Forum on Stagecoach’s proposed changes to the X99 Inverness-Thurso service, Caithness Chamber of Commerce has launched a short survey asking bus users to note whether they would prefer that the 16:40 or the 17:40 northbound journey from Inverness be retained, and seeking further information on usage of the service (e.g. for leisure, hospital appointments, etc.) It’s a good example of the Transport Forum’s partnership approach to issues. The survey is available online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NXZKSBW , and will run until 5pm on Wednesday 30th September 2015.
  • CNSRP partner Highland Council has agreed to accept applications for small grants in Caithness from local organisations. The scheme will make use of funds from the Caithness area’s discretionary fund, and applications will be accepted up until Monday 19th October. More information at http://www.highland.gov.uk/news/article/8932/your_cash_your_caithness
  • Awards season is upon us, and it was good to see two north companies nominated for the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards 2015: the North Highland Initiative was nominated in the Innovation category, and Caithness Collection’s Andrew Mackay was nominated in the Hospitality Hero category. Best of luck to both in the Final – you can read the full list of nominees at http://www.highland-tourism-awards.co.uk/ Also last weekend saw a surprised and delighted Alex Paterson (Chief Executive) and Lorne Crerar (Chair) from HIE accept the “President’s Award” at the SCDI Highlands and Islands Awards. The award came in recognition of the organisation’s (and its predecessor HIDB’s) contribution to Scotland over the past 50 years. http://www.hie.co.uk/about-hie/news-and-media/archive/scdi-president-s-award-2015-presented-to-hie.html#sthash.dcaYPpG9.dpbs