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Weekly Update, 15th April 2013

Energy/ Business Services:

Developing the skills of our current and future workforce has been the subject of a series of discussions with partners this week. The Partnership’s Executive and Advisory Boards have identified this as a priority issue, and from recent discussions with potential investors, particularly in the energy sector, better intelligence on industry requirements is emerging to help us. We are also conscious of ongoing need to ensure our existing information on local labour market information is as up to date and accurate as possible. This week has seen me coordinate a meeting of the key players from Skills Development Scotland, Job Centre Plus, Highland Council, HIE, Caithness Chamber of Commerce and North Highland College to agree key priorities for action. We will develop this into a planned set of actions to be communicated back to the Partnership’s Advisory and Executive Boards. Separately this week I have been involved with the Make the Right Connections skills transition project as we review the key priorities for the final year of the project, building on the very positive impacts the programme is already making.

Enabling Activities:

Caithness Chamber of Commerce has opened entries for the George Bruce Young Entrepreneur of the Year award 2013. Entries for this year, which is the fourth year of the award, will close on 31st July. In addition to the award itself – made and sponsored by Caithness Stone Industries – the winner will receive a £500 cash prize, generously sponsored by Kongsberg Maritime, as well as one year’s free business membership of Caithness Chamber of Commerce. More information from

Highland Council’s Education Culture & Sport service will be running a pre-planning consultation event on its plans to construct a new primary school and community facility on the site of the current Wick North Primary school. The public exhibition of proposals, which will see the current Wick North and Hillhead primary schools amalgamated, will be held at the Assembly Rooms, Wick, on Monday 29th April from 2pm to 6.30pm.


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:

  • The Socio-economic subgroup of the Dounreay Stakeholder Group met this week, at which I presented my quarterly written update on activities.
  • Caithness Renewables, which opened its office in Thurso last year, has announced a new partnership with Evance Wind Turbines, which will create one new post at the Thurso office.
  • More good publicity for John O’Groats today (Friday) as the “Fab 1 Million” charity drive reached Groats at around 5.30am this morning at the end of a trip from Land’s End in the pink Rolls Royce with the FAB1 number plate from Thunderbirds. An amazing 600 people were there to see the arrival of celebrity drivers Chris Evans, Gary Barlow, Brian Cox and James May. A video of their arrival taken by reporter Will Clark is available to view on the John O’Groat Journal website at