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Weekly Update, 12th April 2010

  • I took part in North Highland College’s Strategic Planning day, facilitating one of the workshop sessions. It was very useful to get greater insight into future college plans as they might impact on the regeneration programme, and also good to be able to discuss some local opportunities that might be available from the continuing development of the College’s role within the University of the Highland & Islands network.
  • Met with Helen Mackay at T3UK to discuss outcomes from the meeting she convened to discuss the potential for new ways of delivering/ managing apprenticeships in the area. A further meeting of that group will take place next week, so we discussed possible ways of moving Helen’s excellent ideas forward.
  • Met with Lynne Johnstone from Skills Development Scotland to discuss workforce transition issues. SDS is the national agency that delivers many Government training programmes, as well as delivering careers advice, so they have an important role to play. As I mentioned in last week’s update, this is a crucial aspect of our programme, and the NDA’s Anna MacConnell and I are bringing together representatives from DSRL, SDS, Chamber of Commerce and Crown Estate to discuss how best to deliver this.
  • I attended the socio-economic subgroup of the Dounreay Stakeholders’ Group. I deliver a quarterly update report to this group on behalf of the main agencies. The report can be viewed at
  • I brought together HIE’s Roy Kirk, DSRL’s Ken Nicol and Duncan Mackay of the Crown Estate for a brief review of progress since the announcement of the Round One Pentland Firth leases in mid March.  We focused on the opportunities related to transitioning our skilled DSRL workforce, early procurement/ tendering opportunities for our supply chain and targeted inward investment activities through HIE and Scottish Development International. Roy outlined HIE’s ongong plans to strengthen and focus its inward investment and supply chain activities and Ken talked about how DSRL can promote the skills of its workforce to marine energy developers. Duncan Mackay outlined the “mini-round” just announced by The Crown Estate for the Inner Sound site between Stroma and Caithness, which is already attracting a large amount of developer interest. Although it will be good to see this site on the “Caithness side” of the Firth concluded by late Summer 2010, we agreed that the geographic locations of the Round One sites were less important than the specific economic opportunities they offer for companies in Caithness and north Sutherland. We will collectively work over the coming weeks to co-ordinate our activities, and make sure we are making the most of opportunities as they arise.