Representatives of Skills Development Scotland, JobCentre Plus, Highland Council’s Employability team, North Highland College, Caithness Chamber of Commerce, HIE, Dounreay and the Scottish Qualifications Authority met in Thurso this week and agreed funding and project management arrangements for an event to be held in November that will focus on future job opportunities in the north’s changing economy. As previously reported, I have been helping bring together the key organisations to focus on what is being done to support the skills needed in industries that are likely to be crucial in the area’s economy over the next 10-15 years. It was agreed that Caithness Chamber of Commerce will coordinate the event, which will be held in the new Engineering, Technology & Energy Centre at North Highland College. More information in due course.
At this week’s Caithness & Sutherland Area Committee meeting of the Highland Council there were two reports presented – one on the procurement of the new Highland Council office complex in Wick, the other on the new schools and related community facilities being built in Wick. Officials said that Council analysis of the tenders confirms that almost all of the spend on the Council Office contract is likely to be through firms based in the Highlands, with over £1M likely to go directly to Caithness companies, providing welcome news for the construction industry. The schools project is to be carried out with Hubco, and the contract carries a key performance indicator related to the number of graduates/ apprenticeships per £million of project value. There is also a commitment to ensure that local companies are able to tender for at least 80% of the contracts outwith the main construction contract. Hubco are due to run events for interested companies during September/ October.
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: