I met with Jennifer Irvine from Business Gateway to update my figures on job creation in the area. Business Gateway provides a range of advisory and support services to local businesses, and it was good to hear that last year in its first 12 months of operation BG helped 24 new businesses in the north to start up.
Together with colleagues from the Dounreay Stakeholder Group I met with representatives from Caithness Solutions, one of the two bidders in the Dounreay PBO competition, to discuss further our aspirations and expectations on the socio-economic aspects of the competition.
I chaired a meeting of some of the group that has been steering the development of a skills transition programme for our area. The meeting focused on the detail of project funding timescales and requirements. A huge amount of work has been done to reach this stage of development, and Caithness Chamber of Commerce is now taking a lead in developing the proposal.
I was one of a number of people able to see the new Centre for Energy & the Environment as it is reaching an advanced stage of construction at the North Highland College site in Thurso. The environmental standards adopted in the construction of the building are exemplary, and it will offer a very good working environment for ERI staff and students as part of their expansion. Professor Stuart Gibb told those attending the site visit that ERI has created 15 jobs over the past three years, with more jobs yet to come. The ERI’s growing reputation puts it in the vanguard of research into marine renewables.
Following discussions with HIE colleagues I had very useful contact with a local company looking at new markets for its products. We focused particularly on contacts in the marine renewables sector.
Finally, you may have been approached by Caithness Chamber of Commerce to complete a survey on your business IT connectivity. The Chamber is doing this as part of the ongoing effort to help make a robust bsuiness case for better, faster connections. Local IT company Navertech has also agreed to help by making an online version of the survey available. If you have not yet completed a survey it would be very helpful if you could take five minutes to do so by clicking on http://survey.navertech.co.uk/index.php?sid=89411&lang=en