I participated in a workshop at the Castle of Mey this week. Co-sponsored by the Scottish Government, Highland Council and HIE and led by The Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment, it focussed on an “onshore vision” for a marine energy industry in Caithness. In other words, to look at the infrastructure, resources and skills we will need to attract and support a new industry of this sort. Attendees included senior Scottish Government officials, Highland Council representatives, local organisations drawn from the CNSRP Advisory Board and representatives from marine energy companies. HRH The Duke of Rothesay joined the workshop for over an hour, discussing detailed issues with each of the small workshop groups formed on the day. I was part of the organising group for this event, and now look forward to helping gather our discussions into a format that can form the basis of concrete actions to increase our competitiveness in the marine energy sector.
I continue to work with colleagues as Stage 2 of a workforce transition programme application goes forward next week to the European Programme Partnership in Inverness. This week I had a productive discussion with collegues from the NDA and DSRL on how the proposed programme can add value to the Dounreay site license company’s existing plans, and how DSRL can in turn add value to the proposal. Also some fairly detailed discussions on the most appropriate body to lead the application process from this point forward. We will agree this aspect early next week.
I met CNSRP Chairman Sir Anthony Cleaver to discuss current work on our programme, and to review the agreed actions from our partners’ meeting in early July. We also met with colleagues from the Highland Council.
Finally, as partners continue to develop Caithness/ north Sutherland propositions for potential inward investors I have had an initial discussion with a Caithness-born senior Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh who is working on an academic study of local identity in Caithness. In Caithness we often look admiringly across the water at Orkney and its very clear sense of identity – but do we have a local sense of identity in this area? We spoke in some detail of the links between times of economic transition and area identity, and agreed that his work might prove useful to us as we further refine what we can communicate of the distinctiveness of both Caithness and north Sutherland.