Weekly update, 30th May

Energy & Business Services:

  • A further contract announcement this week regarding the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm development off the Caithness coast. Scottish company Sgurr Energy have been awarded a three year construction monitoring contract. More details at http://renews.biz/102883/sgurrenergy-scoops-beatrice-job/ It was also great to read, see and hear the piece from BBC Scotland across yesterday’s (Thursday’s) news media regarding the local economy’s changing focus. The online article (entitled “Northern Powerhouse”) contains contributions from JGC Director and Caithness Chamber Chair Stephen Sutherland, Caithness Chamber CEO Trudy Morris and Wick Harbour Chair Willie Watt, as well as young apprentice Adam Bremner. The story is at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-36433514

Enabling activities:

  • Thurso’s Environmental Research Institute (ERI) continues its internationally-significant research programme with news of four new fully-funded 3.5 year PhD studentships in a range of related disciplines.  www.uhi.ac.uk/en/research-enterprise/grad-school/funding
  • CNSRP partner HIE’s Dr Vicki Hazley is running an event later this month aimed at new/ young high-growth companies in the technology sector. Vicki, who is part of HIE’s Innovation team and is based in HIE’s Thurso office, will run the event in the new An Lὸchran building on the Inverness Campus, as a discussion forum and the topic is Non-Executive Directors. Iain Scott from Highland Venture Capital will be speaking, so as well as peer-to-peer learning it’s a good chance for companies to hear what investors feel NXDs can bring and why they might seek to appoint one. Event info and booking at http://www.hie.co.uk/about-hie/events/archive/23-06-2016-technology-sme-innovation-forum.html
  • I was in the new An Lὸchran building for the first time this week taking part in an Education Scotland session sponsored by HIE on Digital Literacy. We continue to work on related issues with key local/ regional organisations such as the Highlands and Islands Science Skills Academy and STEMNorth. Many thanks to Chris Aitken from Wick High School for enabling me to attend.
  • As the rollout of fibre broadband continues, the latest update for the Highland area highlights current and projected progress. It’s good to see fibre services now available in Keiss and Dunbeath in Caithness, and to hear that network investigation work is going on around John O’Groats. A reminder too that access to new fibre services must be ordered from your broadband provider. The rollout programme for the area continues to be delivered by BT, and managed by CNSRP partner Highlands and Islands Enterprise. Read more at http://us2.campaign-archive1.com/?u=bb3d766da2b2681290e0b1d5d&id=3b3cb46254&e=

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:

  • Looking forward to returning to the Dounreay site next week with Simon Middlemas to continue delivering the joint presentation on future jobs prospects in the area. We delivered this to Dounreay Trade Union safety reps in April, and received very useful feedback. This time we will be delivering lunchtime talk to any interested members of the Dounreay workforce.
  • Good to see news of North Highland College students’ success in national competitions – G&R Sutherland apprentice Robbie MacDonald won the Scottish Association of Timber Trade Teachers Carpentry and Joinery competition (SATT) against students from across Scotland, and JGC apprentice Charlie Firth won at the Welding Institute competition in Inverness.