Economic Growth A Priority For Caithness And Sutherland


The Caithness and Sutherland Area Committee of Highland Council will continue to pursue its interests in the economic growth of the area when it discusses Workforce Development and Skills Training at its next meeting at the Assembly Rooms, Wick on Monday 20 May. Councillor Deidre MacKay, Leader of the Area Committee said: Members have received reports on the economic potential and current patterns of employment and unemployment in the area. They want to ensure that people in the area are given every opportunity to attain the skills and experience necessary to secure the many job opportunities that are arising.

The Committee have invited representatives from skills and training agencies to join them at their meeting to outline current developments and issues in the area and in particular how they work together to ensure maximum benefit. The Committee has a particular interest in the opportunities available to young people leaving school in the area as well as the opportunities for experienced workers to retrain and refresh skills. The presentation will be led by the Council s Planning and Development Service Employability Team and will include Eann Sinclair, Programme Manager, Caithness and North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership, Caithness Chamber of Commerce, North Highland College and Skills Development Scotland.

Councillor MacKay added: There are more than 15,000 jobs in the area but previous reports have highlighted that there are more than 700 people on Job Seekers Allowance and each year another 400 young people leave school to go into further learning or employment. It is vital that this pool of talent is able to access quality and appropriate training for the jobs that will be available. Eann Sinclair said: We aim to inform Members about some of the practical approaches being taken to the development and retention/ enhancement of skills in the area, and hope to gain Members comments on the way ahead.

We will emphasise the joined-up approach being taken by public and private sector partners, and will include what I think is tangible evidence of this approach. Independent Wick councillor Bill Fernie said, “With the run done at Dounreay looming in coming years and the recent anouncements of prominent businesses going into administration we need to work closely with all partners to try to ensure more is done to bring more investment and jobs to the area. I am pleased to see that there continues to be a commitment on all sides to get things done.”

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