Caithness and North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership - Update
16th January 2015
Week commencing 12th January 2015
Energy & Business services:
Good to see in this week's John O'Groat Journal that AGM Batteries - based at the Thurso Business Park - has been developing a partnership with academia to help ensure its workforce skills stay up to date and competitive. Warwick Manufacturing Group, the R&D facility for Warwick University, has been helping develop short courses for AGM staff. As previously covered here, the company shares premises at the Business Park with Denchi Power, and over the past 12 months both companies have been recruiting new staff to help service their mainly defence-sector related businesses, with advice and financial support from CNSRP partner Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
Tourism, Food & Drink:
Strathnaver Museum, which attracts funding from numerous bodies such as CNSRP partner Highland Council and the NDA/ DSRL-funded Caithness & North Sutherland Fund, continues to help progress the mobile App being developed in partnership with Venture North, following financial support to the latter organisation from CNSRP partner the NDA. http://us3.campaign-archive2.com/?u=e22ba5b6e5faf6c42ad071a07&id=2190abd20b&e=bd1ae1d280
One of the contributors to this week's DSG Socio-economic subgroup meeting (see Communications below for details) was Sandy Mackie of Scrabster harbour Trust, and it is good to hear that Scrabster expects an increase in cruise ship passenger numbers this year as it continues to promote the port as an attractive cruise ship destination. Last year around 2,500 passengers visited the port, but this year's programme could bring around 3,500 passengers.
I met today (Friday) with members of the Wick Harbour Authority (WHA) to continue discussions on how best to support the development of the harbour as a base for energy sector opportunities. This forms an important project in the CNSRP programme, and it was good to hear that the Harbour Authority is making good progress in developing options for infrastructure solutions, in discussion with key potential investors. CNSRP partners are working together to agree most appropriate ways of helping deliver key requirements at Wick harbour.
The Spirit of 2012 Trust (http://www.spiritof2012trust.org.uk/about-us/) is a Big Lottery Fund supported organisation that aims to promote community empowerment and wellbeing. It is working through Foundation Scotland to take forward legacy from the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, and has identified Caithness as a community partner in its new "Fourteen" programme, which aims to encourage social action and volunteering, grassroots sports and physical activity, cultural activity and the arts and youth leadership. A fund will be established in Caithness to support this, and to gather views Foundation Scotland are holding two public meetings this month - at the Ross Institute, Halkirk on either 26th January at 7pm or on the 27th January at 9.30am
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 Dounreay Stakeholder Group’s Socio-economic Subgroup met this week, and I presented my regular written progress report to members. The meeting also discussed the socio-economic implications of the revised timescales for the Dounreay Decommissioning Programme, as well as discussing the future financial implications for local heritage groups from pressures on Highland Council budgets. It was also good to hear about the work commencing through Caithness Chamber to examine issues affecting young people arising from the Wood Report on oil & gas.
Caithness & North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership
Highland Council Offices, Rotterdam Street, Thurso KW14 8AB
Tel: 01847 805520
Mob: 07717 694055
Weeks commencing 20th and 27th November 2017 Energy & business services: Delighted to hear that SeaCat Services, the operators of the crew transfer vessels that will support both construction and operations work for the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm (BOWL) project, had a good level of interest at its recruitment event in Wick last week. SeaCat is seeking suitably qualified candidates for roles such as Master, Mate and Deckhand, and I understand that several applications are now being taken forward.
Week Commencing 13 November 2017 Energy & business services: A reminder that 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 next week 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.
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 (see my blog for pictures of the SeaCat Intrepid already based in Wick). 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.
Week commencing 30th October 2017 Energy & business services: The operators of the Moray (East) Offshore Windfarm development (also known as "Moray 1") have announced this week that MHI Vestas has been awarded the contract to supply and install up to one hundred 9.5MW turbines for the development. The Vestas brand will be familiar to many through its use in onshore wind turbines: as previously highlighted here, the Beatrice Offshore Windfarm consortium will be using Siemens turbines.
Weeks commencing 16th and 23rd October 2017. Energy & business services: It was great to be invited this week to take part in a visit to the area by Japanese nuclear industry and government representatives.
Week commencing 25 September 2017 Tourism, Food and Drink: · Last weekend saw the staging of the annual "Taste North" event organised at Ackergill Tower by Venture North with support from a range of organisations including CNSRP partner the NDA. Despite the less than ideal weather, the event attracted a record number of visitors (around 1,000), and a range of food, drink and tourism companies from across the north, and featured a range of activities and demonstrations, including masterclasses with renowned chef Nick Nairn.
Week commencing 11 September 2017 Energy & business services: The UK Government's department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) this week announced its latest round of awards through the "Contracts for Difference" mechanism, in which there was mixed news for area projects. The Moray Offshore Windfarm (East) development consented for the Moray Firth - received an award, whilst the MeyGen tidal energy project did not.
Week Commencing 4 September 2017 Enabling Activities: As I highlighted last week CNSRP partners Highland Council and NDA have supported Scottish Government to carry out investigation work into the improvement of the A9 Trunk Road at Berriedale Braes, which aims to improve the notorious hairpin bend. The notice, which outlines construction costs of approximately £9 million, invites prospective bidders to formally apply to participate in the procurement to construct major improvements to this important route.
Week Commencing 14th August 2017 Energy & business services: Caithness Chamber of Commerce this week ran an event sponsored by CNSRP partner Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). The main speaker was Bill Cattanach of the Oil & Gas Authority (OGA), with introductory presentations by myself and Sandy Mackie of Scrabster Harbour Trust.
Weeks commening 31st July and 7th August Energy & business services: As I highlighted recently, the company behind the proposed floating offshore windfarm demonstrator off the coast near Dounreay recently went into into administration. Administrators French Duncan have opened a "data room" for potential buyers.
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