Jobs and skills progress gives heart for area’s future
New jobs and investment in young people were among the key highlights from the recent meeting of the Caithness & North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership (CNSRP).
CNSRP Programme Manager Eann Sinclair reported that since the Partnership’s 2014-17 Programme had started some 30 companies had committed to creating 172 new full-time equivalent jobs, and to retaining a further 32. The Partnership’s overall targets are to help companies create between 359 and 479 jobs by March 2017.
The figures were welcomed by the Board’s interim Chair, Cllr Gail Ross:
“Members were very pleased to hear that we continue to make progress in attracting new jobs to the area, and it was really pleasing to see that this includes a healthy mix of new business start-ups, existing company growth and companies who are new to the area.”
Members also welcomed the work going on to boost young people’s employability skills. Summer programmes are being run by North Highland College and Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd, both giving young people opportunities to gain real work skills that will increase their attractiveness to employers in key sectors such as construction and engineering.
And Caithness Chamber of Commerce has submitted a proposal to the Scottish Government’s Investing in Young People programme that would, if approved, bring a series of activities aimed at increasing connections between schools, College and employers. This would lead to an increased number of young people aged 16 – 24 participating in inspirational work related activities which will ultimately lead to local employment opportunities.
Trudy Morris of Caithness Chamber of Commerce said
“This is an exciting initiative which has generated real support and enthusiasm among local businesses, College and schools. It has the potential to make a real difference for our young people’s futures and their journey into employment. We hope to secure Scottish Government approval in the late summer”.
Derrick Milnes, Chair of the Thurso & Wick Trades Council, said
“We have been raising awareness of the need for employability skills for some time now, so it is very pleasing to see local and regional partners working together to bring these initiatives forward. There are likely to be a significant number of construction and engineering opportunities in particular over the coming months and years in Caithness.”
Members also heard a presentation outlining proposals for a Community Sports Hub in Thurso. The project aims to provide opportunities for people of all ages to participate in sports and physical activities by developing a facility in Thurso.