Blog & News

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


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Weekly update, 13th August

Energy & Business Services:

It was good to meet this week with Mike Muir of M2 Procurement & Commercial Services. Mike has extensive experience in procurement and commercial services, particularly in the nuclear sector, and I was delighted to hear that M2PCS has recently been awarded a contract to help develop the “Open4Business” portal that SSE has used to advertise many of its supply chain contracts. I was interested to hear that in delivering the contract M2PCS will be working with Caithness companies Navertech Ltd and Atlantic marketing.

UKVL Sutherland:

As I mentioned last week, Greg Clark MP, the UK Government’s Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) was in Tongue to visit the site of the proposed Spaceport in North Sutherland. During his visit to the north he also called at Dounreay to meet staff and in particular Graduate Apprentices. CNSRP partners Cavendish Dounreay Partnership and Nuclear Decommissioning Authority have been very helpful in supporting the development of this opportunity, with the Dounreay Socio-economic Board having previously committed vital match funding to help HIE to carry out investigation work and develop a business case. HIE and space industry partners will also this coming week begin community information events in north Sutherland – these drop-in sessions will be on Tuesday 21st August (1500 – 2030, Melness Village Hall) and Wednesday 22nd August (1500- 2030, Tongue Village Hall).

Enabling Activities:

I mentioned last week the exciting new Technology Placement Programme (TPP), which has been developed by HIE to ensure non-account managed SMEs and social enterprises in the Highland Council area have access to the skills help them grow and keep ahead of rapid changes in technology. Similar to the ScotGrad programme, TPP allows SME’s and social enterprises to make the connection with students and graduates, to bring forward additional ideas and knowledge that will enable businesses to improve their productivity and competitiveness through technology-based innovation. Downloadable applications forms and employer packs are at  – Lizi Blackwood is the Technology Development Manager for the Northern Innovation Hub, which is a project funded through the Inverness & Highland City-Region Deal, and Lizi is based in Thurso.

As mentioned before, CNSRP partner HIE is running a 12 week business accelerator programme in Caithness, for companies in technology and science sectors. This programme is also funded under the Northern Innovation Hub and is run by experienced business coaches. The aim of this ‘Pathfinder’ programme is to save businesses time and money by facilitating an accelerated approach to narrowing down target markets and developing a commercialisation plan. There is a taster session next week at Caithness Horizons (on Wed 22nd Aug at 2 pm) – you can find out more (and sign up) 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:

  • I was delighted to give an update on CNSRP activities and plans to the Highland Council’s Environment Development & Infrastructure committee when it met in Inverness this week. It was good to have positive feedback from Councillors across the Council, and to have a number of questions on particular projects. The meeting was broadcast on the Council’s webcasting service, and is available to view at with the CNSRP update from around 57.00 minutes onwards. The Council also issued a press release following the meeting, and it can be viewed at
  • I provided another of my regular CNSRP update pieces for today’s John O’ Groat Journal, focusing this time on the opportunities that could be delivered through the proposed Spaceport in north Sutherland. (see above for news of community information events taking place next week in North Sutherland).
  • Community consultation on the future shape of health services in Caithness is launched this coming week, with two sessions aimed at finding out how best to involve the maximum number of local people. NHS Highland says the redesign proposals offer the potential to attract up to £30m of investment to enhance and improve local services. The events are at the Pulteneytown People’s Project in Wick (Monday 20th August, 6-7pm) and Caithness Horizons, Thurso (Tuesday 21st August, 6-7pm). The consultation document will be sent out to every Caithness household this coming week, and the consultation period will last until November.