Blog & News

Here you will find out all of our latest updates through News and Blog pages.


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Weekly update, 6th November

Energy & business services:
• SeaCat Services, the operators of the crew transfer vessels that will support both construction and operations work for the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm (BOWL) project, will be running a recruitment event in Wick for those interested in working on the vessels. SeaCat are seeking suitably qualified candidates for roles such as Master, Mate and Deckhand, and will be hosting a drop-in session at Wick Job Centre, Girnigoe Street, Wick from 9am til 12pm on Thursday 23rd November. To find out more about the roles, and other information, please see

• Good to see coverage in this week’s press that Wick Harbour Authority and BOWL has formally signed the 25 year lease for the areas of the harbour to be used in support of the operations of the offshore project, following two years of negotiations. WHA Chairman Willie Watt has hailed the deal as “the best news for Wick harbour in 100 years.” Also in “Offshore Wind Week” it’s fitting that the BOWL project has reached yet another milestone, with 84 of the 86 sets of foundation piles now installed off the Caithness coast by Seaway Heavy Lifting, using the huge “Stanislav Yudin” vessel. As I have previously highlighted, work to install the jackets onto the foundation piles has also begun, keeping the project on track to start operations in 2019. Onshore construction also continues, with Bam Nuttall and local firm GMR Henderson working on the conservation and construction at the 200 year old Thomas Telford harbourfront buildings that will become the project’s operating base in 2019. And work also started this week on the currently disused corner of the inner harbour that the BOWL project will use for its crew transfer vessel. More at

Contractors begin work to demolish the disused slipway in Wick Harbour to make way for berthing for crew transfer vessels supporting the Beatrice Offshore Winfarm project, November 2017 (Image courtesy BOWL)

• And the Moray Offshore project has made a further announcement this week, offering the contract for onshore works and offshore substations to Siemens, having last week announced that it will be using MHI Vestas turbines, and will contract with GeoSea for foundation supply and installation.

Enabling Activities:
• The Board of Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd was in Caithness this week, and it was good to be able to meet them during their visit to discuss the current and future value of Wick John O’Groats airport to the north mainland’s economy. It was good to be able to outline to key figures such as interim Chair Lorna Jack the range of opportunities we are currently pursuing, and the key role the airport and its services play in helping capture them, as well as other areas such as health. It was also good to meet Drew Murray, the new man at the helm of Far North Aviation. Drew has taken over from FNA founder Andrew Bruce, who retired from his position in September, so we wish Drew well as he continues to develop the excellent national and international business portfolio the company has built up.
• It was also good to see Graham Campbell from the Scottish Qualifications Authority and Colin Buchanan from CNSRP partner Skills Development Scotland (SDS) this week. As we continue to work with partners and other organisations to develop a Skills Investment Plan for our area it was very useful to talk about recent progress with Foundation Apprenticeships, and their relevance to some of the economic sectors we are focused on. I also took part in discussions with North Highland College, Caithness Chamber of Commerce and NHS Highland on what opportunities there might be to support recruitment and training opportunities in the Primary Care sector in the north. As I’ve previously highlighted, Caithness Chamber has recently launched its portal to promote hard-to-fill vacancies in the north. More on this at
• Interesting to see this week’s news that Crown Estate Scotland has committed to launching a pilot scheme that could lead to organisations, local authorities, development trusts etc managing Crown Estate Scotland assets in their area. CES is a member of the CNSRP Advisory Board, so we look forward to engaging in due course.

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:
• Delighted this week to have been invited by Caithness Chamber of Commerce to meet Jamie Stone MP at a business breakfast event held in Thurso yesterday (Thursday). A good range of businesses were there to hear from him about activities since his election to Parliament, and a number of local issues were raised.
• Congratulations to CNSRP partner Highland Council for two awards this week at the Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning, and in particular for the work done with CNSRP partner the NDA on the work for the Nucleus building in Wick. A short video is at