Blog & News

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


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Weekly update, 17th June

Energy & Business Services:

  • Representatives of Sykes @ Home were in Caithness this week to begin a recruitment process for Homeworkers, beginning with a well-supported drop-in recruitment event in Thurso. CNSRP partner Highlands and Islands. Sykes staff were delighted at the response and are looking forward to continuing to advertise the opportunity. Coverage of the event was carried in yesterday’s (Friday’s) John O’ Groat Journal. Sykes describes itself as “a family of global businesses delivering business process outsourcing services”, and it is looking to increase its customer service staff by up to 100 in Caithness and Sutherland. The majority of the posts will be on permanent contracts and working between 16 and 40 hours a week. The new SYKES team will be working for a leading technology client. Applicants don’t need specialist knowledge, and full training will be provided by telephone and online. More information on the opportunity at

Staff from Sykes meet local support organisations in preparation for the start of its Homeworking recruitment in Caithness and Sutherland.

  • On a related note, Dounreay has announced the award of a contract to “transform and manage” its IT services. A five year contract has been awarded to Roc Technologies, and in announcing the news DSRL Deputy Managing Director David Lowe has highlighted Dounreay’s desire to work with the company to discuss bringing new employment opportunities to the area and to engage with local schools/ UHI to support learning in digital topics. This is tangible evidence of Dounreay’s very welcome commitment to including socio-economic provisions in its contracts. Also, this week I was able to discuss similar socio-economic issues with staff from Wood PLC, who have successfully bid for several contracts at Dounreay. We had a very productive discussion on areas where the company might be able to help the wider economic transition programme, and as evidence of what the company is already doing it has this week announced a fund that could invest in SME companies who are developing innovative technologies to support nuclear decommissioning. More on this is at
  • Last week Atlantis Resources Ltd became SIMEC Atlantis Energy, following a reverse acquisition with SIMEC Energy (part of the Gupta Family Group). It will interesting to see what further positive implications these moves will have on the MeyGen tidal energy project in the inner sound of the Pentland Firth. We continue to be in regular contact with CEO Tim Cornelius and his team. More on the organisation is at
  • SeaCat Services, the company who provide Crew Transfer Vessels for the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm development, are once again advertising for a range of positions (such as Master, Mate, Deckhand) on their vessels, more of which will be running from Wick as the project nears its operations phase. The company ran a recruitment event in Wick last winter, but will hope for further interest now, and through North Highland College UHI we are looking at what skills development support might be available to boost employability. More at
  • There was news of a more disappointing nature for Wick this week as the Moray offshore windfarm developers announced their intention to develop an operations base for the development at Fraserburgh harbour. Willie Watt, Trudy Morris and myself provided a response for local press, each of us pointing to what seems likely to be a very different operating model than the one currently taking shape at Wick Harbour for the Beatrice offshore windfarm. More at


Enabling activities:

  • Scottish Government has announced an interest-free Digital Development loan fund for Scottish SMEs. Loans from £5,000-£50,000 are available, to enhance the digital capabilities of eligible companies. More information is at


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:

Sir Anthony Cleaver at his final CNSRP board meetings in Thurso, June 2018 with members of the Executive, Advisory and Delivery groups.

CNSRP Independent Chair Sir Anthony Cleaver. His last act as Chair this week was to visit the Nucleus facility at Wick, having announced its creation in his previous role as founding Chairman of the NDA.

  • The CNSRP Executive and Advisory Boards each met in Thurso yesterday (Friday), having their respective meetings, with a short joint session between the two groups and members of the CNSRP Delivery Group. The meeting of the CNSRP Executive Board was the final one to be chaired by CNSRP independent Chair Sir Anthony Cleaver, who stands down after ten years of successfully steering the Partnership. His successor is Ian Ross, who is based in Golspie, and is a well-respected former Highland Councillor and former chair of Scottish Natural Heritage. It was good to see both the warm wishes for Sir Anthony and the warm welcome for Ian as he sat in on yesterday’s meetings. Sir Anthony also spoke with Gordon Calder of the John O Groat Journal to reflect on his time as chairman, and I look forward to reading the results of that.

Thanks to Phil Craig, Dounreay MD, for this “action” shot from my presentation to the Dounreay Stakeholder Group on 13th June!