Weekly update, 5th September

Energy & Business Services:
• It is good to note that recruitment has now started for staff who will take forward the operations and maintenance of the Beatrice offshore Windfarm Ltd development at Wick, with lead partner SSE advertising the posts of Contract Lead, Asset Engineer and Operations Engineer. These are the first publicly advertised positions to become available, and we hope that over the coming 12 to 18 months the recruitment of O&M personnel will ramp up. At the time they confirmed that Wick would be the O&M base for the project SSE estimated they would create around 90 direct full-time jobs in Wick. https://hijobs.net/jobs/caithness-and-sutherland The move also coincides with an event being held next week in Mackay’s Hotel, Wick, where BOWL will inform local people about its plans to develop existing buildings at Wick harbour for use as its operations and maintenance base. The event will take place in Mackay’s Hotel, Wick, from 4-7pm on Wednesday 14th September. http://sse.com/whatwedo/ourprojectsandassets/renewables/Beatrice/

Tourism, food & drink:
• The visits of the “Amadeus” and “Oriana” to Scrabster harbour this week brought the port’s cruise season to a close with an influx of around 2,500 passengers plus crews into Caithness. Coaches were brought in from across the Highlands to help service the large number of passengers wishing to take shore visits, and once again the shuttle buses provided through funding from CNSRP partner Highland Council were well used. The evening departure coincided with one of the most spectacular sunsets of the year, captured by the talented Karen Munro in the gallery of photos on the BBC website http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-37284235 and by a number of others on the Caithness Photos page on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/508815242476907/

Enabling activities:
• Following last week’s productive meeting on the subject of developing career skills for young people I was in Inverness this week with colleagues from CNSRP partners Skills Development Scotland and Caithness Chamber of Commerce. We visited the innovative “My World of Work Live” space in the new Skills Development Scotland offices in the city centre. The space, which is due to fully open later this month, features a digital studio and a “careers lab” and will take groups of school pupils from P7 to S3 through inspiring, hands-on ways of engaging with a range of digital and physical skills. The concept is very close to one currently being developed in Caithness, and we returned north full of ideas for how exciting a venture this would be in this area. The Inverness facility builds on the success of the MyWOWLive space at the Glasgow Science Centre, and you can see some of its work at http://www.glasgowsciencecentre.org/my-world-of-work-live.html

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:
• The latest issue of Dounreay News carries a number of relevant articles, including one on the importance of the announcement by Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Ltd that Wick harbour will be the operations and maintenance base for its £2.6Bn project in the Moray Firth. Wick Harbour Authority Chairman Willie Watt is quoted, hailing the announcement as the most important one for Wick harbour in 100 years, and thanking Cavendish Nuclear for seconding Shona Kirk to WHA to support its efforts in bringing the O&M base to Wick. I’m quoted in the piece, welcoming the announcement and highlighting the value of it having been a priority project for CNSRP. http://www.dounreay.com/UserFiles/File/Dounreay%20News/PR%20NP2016%20Aug%20Sept%20A2(1).pdf