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Boost to employment opportunities in the Highlands

20th August 2014

In the Highlands over the last 3 months 149 employment opportunities have been created through the Council's advisory and business support services.

During a meeting of the Council's Planning, Development and Infrastructure Committee held today (Wednesday 20 August) members heard that 71 new businesses have been supported by Business Gateway to start up and a further 122 Highland businesses already serving local markets have accessed advice over the last quarter.

Also in the same period, the Business Gateway Plus programme, which is funded by the Council with ERDF support and provides one to one support for businesses to access finance and find, tender and win contracts, has provided support to 28 businesses.

Business Gateway services are provided through a local network of business advisers across Highland supported by a national website and a national contact and enquiry centre. While the Council is responsible for the service in Highland, it is delivered under contract by the Council’s wholly owned Enterprise Trust, Highland Opportunity Ltd.(HOL).

Meanwhile the Council’s Create and Employ project which provides free specialist advice to businesses thinking of taking on employees, continues to work closely with the Council’s Employability team to encourage take up of the Highland Council Employment Grant and Graduate Placement Grant.

· 71 businesses this quarter, and 561 businesses in total have accessed employment advice since the project was launched in February 2012

· To date 268 businesses have received employment grants, 50 this quarter, which is the busiest quarter since the project started.

· Allied to this project, 57 graduate placement grants have been approved since the start of the project in 2013 with 10 applications approved this quarter.

Councillor Thomas Prag , Chairman of the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Committee welcomed the statistics. He said: "The figures, together with the 18 new jobs created through loans provided by our Enterprise Trust, Highland Opportunity, are very impressive and show just how much activity has taken place over the last three months. The employment services we offer and the specialist business support are designed to be effective and easy to access. We want to make people aware of what support is available and target efforts to help them get the advice most suited to their needs."

Highland Opportunity Web Site -


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