Weekly update, 13th June

Energy & Business Services:

  • The CNSRP Delivery Group met this week, and we took the opportunity to have a round table discussion on the likely actions needed to support the delivery of local economic benefit from the £2.6 Bn Beatrice Offshore Windfarm project. One of the strengths of the Partnership is the ability to bring partners such as HIE, Skills development Scotland, the NDA, Dounreay, Highland Council, North Highland College and Caithness Chamber of Commerce together with Wick Harbour Authority to ensure that a coordinated approach is taken to this process. Also good to note this week the signing of a contract between Global Energy Group and Siemens to use the Nigg Energy Park to support the construction phase of the BOWL project.

Enabling activities:

  • CNSRP partner Highland Council has launched a call for applications to its Deprived Areas Fund. A total of £38,000 is available in Caithness from the Fund up until March 2017 to assist defined disadvantaged communities to develop and implement activities that improve the quality of life and regenerate their communities.  Priority is given to projects that directly deliver employability outcomes for individuals who live within the targeted area and who are furthest removed from the labour market. For further details on how to apply see  http://www.highland.gov.uk/news/article/9518/funding_available_for_caithness_groups_working_to_tackle_poverty
  • Good to talk to Andrew Johnston this week for an update on the work he is doing to bring together the business case for the Highlands and Islands Science Skills Academy. One element of particular interest to us is the development of a network of STEM hubs based on the Norwegian model of “Newton Rooms” – it was good to involve colleagues from CNSRP partners NDA and Cavendish Nuclear in the discussion, and to hear of positive discussions with North Highland College.
  • And on a related topic, great to see team @PocketCook from Wick High School in the UK Finals of the Apps For Good competition, continuing the School’s amazing track record in the competition. The team is bidding to win the People’s Award for its innovative cooking app, and you can help by voting for them at https://www.appsforgood.org/public/awards/2016/peoples-choice – I’ve sent my vote in!

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:

  •  I was delighted to be invited to meet CNSRP partner the NDA’s Chief Financial Officer David Batters this week, together with NDA colleagues and local partners North Highland College and Dounreay Stakeholder Group. I delivered a version of the presentation on future jobs projections that we have been delivering to Dounreay workforce, and had a very useful discussion on a number of the issues and opportunities surrounding the development of our future workforce in the area. I am also hoping to deliver a short version of the presentation to the attendees at North Highland College’s successful Engineering & Construction “Employability Essentials” course, which runs from 4th July to 5th August. Last year 100% of the attendees went onto into positive destinations (employment, modern apprenticeships or further education), and there are 4 places remaining of the course for this year. The deadline is 23rd June, and more information is at www.northhighland.uhi.ac.uk
  • The Peatlands Partnership reports that the lookout tower at Forsinard has just been given a very prestigious architectural award. The Flows Lookout was given a Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland Award at a ceremony in Glasgow this week.  It was also commended in the Timber award category and The Peatlands Partnership themselves were short-listed in the Client of the Year award category.The building, designed by Icosis architects of Edinburgh was constructed by O’Brien Construction of Thurso and this award comes on the back of another award the structure received last month from the Edinburgh Architectural Association.  The Flows Lookout was funded by the European Regional Development Fund, Scottish Natural Heritage, RSPB Scotland and the Highland Council, as part of the Heritage Lottery Funded Flows to the Future Project. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-36542827