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Weekly Update, 22nd February 2010

The Partnership ran a workshop this week focusing on skills issues. The results of the Caithness & North Sutherland Skills Audit were presented, and DSRL’s Ken Nicol presented a view on workforce transition, followed by new North Highland College Principal Gordon Jenkins outlining opportunities being pursued by the College. As an outcome from the meeting I will now bring together a small group of agency, education and training bodies to agree our collective approach to skills in the area and to set out detailed actions for delivery. It was agreed that we have the potential to deliver something very special if we can make our collective approach more coherent. Presentations from the day are available to view on our website at

I attended a meeting to examine the Dounreay Heritage Strategy’s draft recommendations. Although this strategy is an important piece of work as the Dounreay site is decommissioned, we agreed that the heritage value of this nuclear site needs to be seen in the context of the wider NDA nuclear estate in the UK. It was felt that because Dounreay has taken a lead in this area of work we needed to ensure that a UK-wide sites strategy recognised that there might be some artefacts or even places on the Dounreay site that held national significance.

Met with Fiona Macpherson and Claire Conway from HIE’s Caithness & north Sutherland team to review how we approach inward investment material. We agreed the need to have material that can be adapted for specific propositions, and backed up by specific case study work. Fiona is working on this with colleagues.

Fiona, Claire and I also met with a Board member of the new Decom North Sea organisation. This new body seeks to represent the north sea decommissioning supply chain and focuses on opportunities arising from decommissioning. The body is seeking to hold a launch event in the Highlands and I will be working with Caithness Chamber of Commerce to attract this to Caithness.

Following our recent discussions The Crown Estate will announce the Round 1 Pentland Firth licensing results on 16th March. There will be two parallel events: one in Caithness and the other in Orkney.

Finally, a reminder that the Caithness branch of the British Science Association is holding its AGM in Caithness Horizons tomorrow from 11.00am.