Caithness Map :: Links to Site Map Great value Unlimited Broadband from an award winning provider  

 

HIE to help innovative businesses create hundreds of jobs across the region

14th June 2010

A £2.4 million project to place 350 fresh academic minds in ambitious businesses across the region is being introduced by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

Over the next three years small and medium sized businesses and social enterprises from across the region will be supported to employ university students, graduates and post-graduates for up to a year. The new employees will focus on innovative projects the business otherwise would not be able to progress.

'Talent Scotland Graduate Placement Programme' comprises three tailor-made strands which will allow these businesses to tap into the latest research, theory and technological developments in their fields.

"Encouraging innovative thinking in business directly affects productivity, competitiveness and growth. The graduate programme will provide a way for hundreds of Highlands and Islands businesses to think innovatively while giving tomorrow's entrepreneurs vital experience in a full-time job.

Survey figures indicate we have a lower number of graduates in the Highlands and Islands workforce than the Scottish average. We want more young people to see the range of opportunities that exist in the region and to stay here or return after they have finished their study to work," said HIE Chair William Roe.

HIE has invested £1.375 million and in addition has also secured £769,000 from the European Regional Development Fund. Partners include the Scottish Government, the Scottish Funding Council, Skills Development Scotland, the Technology Strategy Board and has support of Scotland�s universities.

Keith Brown, Minister for Skills and Lifelong Learning, said: "The creation of more direct links between business and universities will stimulate further innovation and enhance business performance across the area. This programme offers a valuable opportunity for young people leaving university to gain a foothold in small and medium sized businesses in some of our most rural and fragile communities."

The programme has a strong focus on supporting businesses in some of Scotland's most rural and remote areas. All placements are paid and there is a sliding scale of wage subsidies available depending on where the business is located. In fragile areas and areas of employment deficit there is 60% support for the Graduates into Business strand, which can last for between six and 12 months.

In addition there is an eight week summer placement project for undergraduates.

A third initiative being incorporated into the programme creates a partnership between the business and a University department. This involves the placement of a highly skilled graduate who works between the University and the business to transfer knowledge. These intensive Shorter Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) are designed to run for between a 10-40 week period.HIE has set an ambitious target of seeing 60 partnerships to be established over the next three years.

The partnership programme has been designed to meet the needs of business while developing the skills and experience of the young people who will shortly be working for them.

Caithness Stone Industries - graduate placement case study

Creating lasting pieces of work that will be appreciated by future generations is surely every artists dream, and for two graduates in Caithness they enjoy this reality on a grand scale every day.

Natalie Horner and Tamara Hicks are design graduates who came to work with Caithness Stone Industries on a placement programme almost two years ago. Some of their projects can be seen in public buildings, people's homes and on signs and landmarks across the country.

The business, which was launched almost 20 years ago, provides primarily Caithness stone and slate, although they also work in wood and steel.†† Its 30 strong team work together to quarry, split and create precision cut, customised products using state of the art equipment.

Having been kept on after the placement both young women now play their part in the in-house design and production. Natalie, 25, is originally from Yorkshire and is delighted that the original scheme gave her a foot in the door.

She commented: "I wouldn't live anywhere else now, I love it.† Every day is different and the work I am involved in is hugely rewarding.† I have learned so much from the highly skilled team who work here.† We have created everything from illustrative panels for places like the Dunbeath Heritage Centre, to stunning standing stones for town centres including Dingwall and Swindon, to the unique pieces we make for clients and visitors who come to the showroom."

24 year old Tamara left Thurso to study her BA Hons in design and craft at Gray's School of Art in Aberdeen.† She specialised in 3d design and is also a sculptor.†
"Working with Caithness Stone Industries is amazing.† We are encouraged to keep up to date with all the latest techniques and are able to put forward our ideas for creating and marketing new products and services," she said.

Business owner John Sutherland said the graduate scheme had been valuable.† "Employing graduates with specialist skills has given us more capacity to develop the business in new ways.† As a team we are taking on exciting projects like the spectacular focal point in Fort William of the West Highland Way map which we have sandblasted into Caithness paving stones."

He added: "Tamara and Natalie have enjoyed their role in nurturing our showroom at Spittal, where in addition to all our other work we now get many visitors who want to see the team in action."

HIE's Annemarie Monteforte works with Caithness Stone Industries on their growth plans for the future, she commented: "These young women are a classic example of what is so good about the graduate placement scheme.† Natalie has come to live and work in the area and Tamara has been able to do the work she loves locally. These are skilled positions and it benefits the business, the community and the region that graduate placement helped them get work here."

 

Related Businesses

 

Related Articles

IoT online demonstration for Highlands and Islands businesses
Businesses in the Highlands and Islands looking to boost their productivity and competitiveness through Internet of Things (IoT) technology, are being offered the chance to hear from industry experts.   Internet of Things technology enables devices, such as everyday objects, machinery and systems to connect to the internet.  
Tune into Tourism: Road to Recovery NEW WEEKLY PODCAST STARTS FRIDAY 15 MAYThumbnail for article : Tune into Tourism: Road to Recovery  NEW WEEKLY PODCAST STARTS FRIDAY 15 MAY
The Tune into Tourism team recognise that the last few months will undoubtedly have been the most difficult experienced to date as a tourism business owner.   We are concerned not only for the welfare of each and every business, but also their owners and operators.  
Appointment of the Chair of the Board of Highlands and Islands EnterpriseThumbnail for article : Appointment of the Chair of the Board of Highlands and Islands Enterprise
Mr Dodds joined the board of HIE in 2014 and became Deputy Chair in 2018.  He has also chaired the development agency's risk and assurance committee for the past four years and represented HIE on the board of the University of the Highlands and Islands.  
Update On The Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund
Message From HIE To Businesses.   Last week, we contacted you to make you aware of new COVID-19 business funds that had been made available, following the Scottish Government's announcement of an additional ¬£100m support for businesses impacted by COVID-19.  
£100m Fund For Businesses Impacted By Covid-19
From Highland and Islands Enterprise.   Further to Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop's announcement this morning that the Scottish Government's additional ¬£100m fund for businesses impacted by COVID-19 will be open for applications from 2pm, we wanted to provide you with more information about this support.  
Highlands And Islands Enterprise - Latest Covid19 Guidance
We would like to reassure you that HIE is doing all it can to gather information and work with Scottish Government to ensure that the appropriate support is reaching our communities and local economy.   We hope to soon have more detail about how to access the recently announced Scottish Government grants to help communities affected by Covid19 https://www.gov.scot/news/helping-communities-affected-by-covid-19 You will have seen new headlines emerging daily at a national and UK level with proposed measures to help individuals, businesses and communities.  
Datafest20 Launched In InvernessThumbnail for article : Datafest20 Launched In Inverness
Scotland's two week festival of data was launched on 9th March 2020 by Scottish Government's cabinet secretary for finance Kate Forbes in An L√≤chran, Inverness.   Now in its fourth year, DataFest will once again showcase Scotland's leading role in data science and artificial intelligence.  
Most Northerly Distillery Set To Go At John O'GroatsThumbnail for article : Most Northerly Distillery Set To Go At John O'Groats
Planning permission was granted yesterday for a 32,670 square foot site that will house a distillery, visitor centre and bonded warehouse.   The new micro distillery at John O'Groats has secured a grant from Highland and Islands Enterprise of ¬£198,000.  
Satellite Launch Site Plans - Another ViewThumbnail for article : Satellite Launch Site Plans - Another View
The latest generation of small communications satellites could be launched into Earth orbit from the northern Highlands of Scotland within the next two years.   Development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has submitted a planning application for a vertical launch site, Space Hub Sutherland, that it plans to construct on the A' Mhoine peninsula, Melness, near Tongue.  
Contract Awarded For £250k Adventure Tourism ProgrammeThumbnail for article : Contract Awarded For £250k Adventure Tourism Programme
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has contracted marketing and business development company, Business and Tourism Solutions (BTS), who will work with Lochaber Chamber of Commerce to deliver the programme.   It will provide intensive engagement, support and interventions for around 50 businesses and providers in the sector across the Highland Council area.  

[Printer Friendly Version]