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Weekly Update, 26th March 2012

Understanding and responding to the skills required to support jobs in the energy sector was the subject of a meeting this week. Organised by Skills Development Scotland, the event brought together representatives from public sector bodies (SDS, JobCentre Plus, Highland Council, HIE, SQA) to hear from key energy/ power sector employers (Scottish & Southern Energy, Global Energy Group) and sector skills councils EU Skills (energy & utilities sectors) and OPITO (oil & gas). There is a clear momentum now behind a focused, well-informed suite of public sector interventions. Representatives from Skills Development Scotland, JobCentre Plus, Highland Council, North Highland College and Caithness Chamber are working together to ensure that “on-the-ground” services in our area are as informed and responsive to future skills requirements as possible.

As part of an ongoing process of helping communicate progress with the delivery of aspects of our economic transition programme CNSRP’s partners work together to generate news stories for local, regional and national media. I also speak on a regular basis to individuals and organisations across the area to update on progress. This week:

  • I attended this week’s meeting of the Thurso & Wick Trades Council, which brings together Union representatives from Caithness. I attend these regular meetings to give members an update on CNSRP progress, and to discuss current relevant issues. This week we focused on skills issues, particularly the launch last week of the Nigg Skills Academy. I was able to update on the role North Highland College will be playing in this development, and the positive impact it is likely to have for facilities such as the Engineering, Technology and Energy Centre (ETEC) in Thurso. The Trades Council also has a Motion at next month’s Scottish Trades Union Congress in Inverness, which calls for ongoing support for the ongoing progress being made in transitioning the north’s economy away from its dependence on Dounreay. The Trades Council is holding a Fringe meeting at the STUC to highlight these issues.
  • The “Energy North” supplement was published with this week’s Northern Times and John O’Groat Journal, and as always it carries a range of relevant stories, including the confirmation of Enterprise Area status for Scrabster; the likely attraction of marine Energy Park status to the Pentland Firth; Energy Hunt’s recent DNV certification award; and North Highland College’s ETEC facility. Read it at
  • The Partnership’s Facebook page is an alternative way of keeping in touch with progress – please visit us at the following link and click on “Like” – Like us on Facebook