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Weekly Update, 8th March 2010

Met with senior Highland Council colleagues to discuss a range of Partnership issues, including preparation for the Partnership’s Advisory Board on 18th March and the regeneration programme we hope discuss with Advisory Board members. Also considered logistics for the Crown Estate announcement event in Wick on 16th March.
I attended the second of the two NDA-run Industry Days being held to launch the competition process for the next Dounreay PBO. It was another well attended day, with a series of excellent NDA presentations, and a rallying call from John Thurso MP on the vital role of socio-economics to the Dounreay competition. The Dounreay unions also drew praise for the DVD on the importance of socio-economics in transitioning the workforce. It was also an excellent opportunity to talk to a range of potential participants in the competition, and to help frame their own thinking on how different a competition Dounreay will be to others such as Sellafield.

Socio-economics came up again at the Dounreay Stakeholders’ Group meeting this week, and there was some concern that although the potential participants might understand our views, the competition process itself might not reflect the value of socio-economics. The Stakeholders’ Group agreed to pursue this with the NDA, and it will be on the Partnership’s Advisory Board agenda next week.
Met with a small marine energy company currently developing innovative new technology, and discussed use of the local supply chain in the device’s R&D phase.
I was invited to a meeting of the North Highland Regeneration Fund, which continues to be a valuable source of loan finance for local businesses.

Following our recent workshops on the Pentland Firth Road Map and Skills Development, I’d like to draw your attention to an opportunity to take part in a national-levelĀ  employer-led working group looking at future recruitment and skills needs for the renewables sector. It kicks off with ameeting in Glasgow, but I would encourage anyone interested in taking part to contact angela.edwards@euskills.co.uk and you can also look at the terms of reference for the group at http://www.scottishrenewables.com/admin/Application/DocumentEditor/MultimediaGallery/2cabff94-00f8-45f3-b4a6-479dfbdaf37e-1.pdf

Finally, the Partnership is moving office next week. We will be moving from T3UK into the centre of Thurso, to Highland Council office space in Traill House, Olrig Street. I hope the move will be as seamless as possible, but on Monday and Tuesday next week you may find some interruption in our availability. The main Partnership phone number will remain the same (01847 890017) and if you have any difficulty contacting me please use my mobile number (07717 694055) or my usual email.