Weekly update, 1st February

Energy & Business Services:

Good to meet this week with June Love and the contractor  who is helping CNSRP partner Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) with some work on cost comparison in the oil & gas sector. The work, which is supported by Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd, is also linked to work being taken forward by Scrabster Harbour Trust. We hope to have initial findings from this work in the coming weeks.

Enabling Activities:

Tomorrow (Saturday 6th February) sees the annual “Jobs and How to Get Them” event, developed again by a group of agencies and organisations and managed by Caithness Chamber of Commerce. The event is being held between 10am and 2pm at Wick Assembly Rooms and is expected to feature more than 40 companies and support organisations in a range of sectors (energy, hospitality, uniformed services etc). More on the event at https://www.facebook.com/caithnessjobs/  

Great to catch up again this week with Andrew Johnston, Project Director for the Highlands and Islands Science Skills Academy. Andrew is working on behalf of a partnership of interests including CNSRP partners HIE, Highland Council, Skills Development Scotland. He met DSRL colleagues to find out more about the impressive range of STEM-related work that continues to take place in the north, which is home to nearly 100 STEM Ambassadors from companies such as DSRL and Rolls Royce. We also heard his update on the Science Skills Academy concept, and the potential for bespoke learning spaces based on the Norwegian “Newton Rooms” model (http://firstscandinavia.datasenter.no/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=16&Itemid=14&lang=en)

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:

  • Two students from Wick High School, Konrad Szewcyck and John Sutherland, were in London yesterday to see their  “One Click Politics” app launched commercially on the Google Play store, as part of the celebration of five years of the Apps for Good competition.  The students’ app won the Information Category of last year’s Apps for Good competition, and their launch has attracted media interest from across the country. CNSRP partner HIE has worked across the Highlands and Islands (with support from the Digital Scotland Business Excellence Partnership) to promote the Apps for Good competition, and held a regional version in 2015, at which I was delighted to present prizes to several teams from Wick High School. A reminder of the students’ work is at http://www.appsforgood.org/public/awards/2015/one-click-politics.
  • The work of Wick High School app-builder teams One Click Politics and Chore Attack is one of the stories covered in the CNSRP 2015 Annual Review, hard copies of which will be distributed in the area next week. In the meantime an electronic copy of the publication, designed by Thurso-based North Design, is available to view on the CNSRP website at http://www.cnsrp.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/CNSRP-Annual-Review-2015.pdf
  • Finally we learned this week the sad news that John Green had passed away. John was until relatively recently a member of both the CNSRP Advisory Board and Caithness Transport Forum, but over his distinguished public service had been a District, Regional, Highland and Community Councillor, as well as Tourist Board Director,  Gills Harbour Association member, Caithness Voluntary Group Chair and Caithness CAB member. His recognition last year as the first Freeman of John O’Groats was widely welcomed. My own contacts with John go back nearly 30 years to his time as Chairman of the Caithness Tourist Board. We enjoyed occasionally remembering his Chairman’s Foreword for CTB’s 1990 Annual Report, in which he said that the decommissioning of Dounreay was at a “critical stage”. In more recent times as fellow members of the Dounreay Stakeholder Group, we felt that was worth remembering! Our thoughts are with John’s family.