The number of unemployed in Caithness
and Sutherland fell from 1,072 last month to 1,031. The revised
unemployment rates in the Sutherland, Wick and Thurso ‘Travel to Work
Areas’ respectively are as follows (corresponding figures for last month
are shown in brackets) 7.9% (8.6%), 6.5% (6.7%) and 3.4% (3.3%).
283 young people are currently on
Skillseekers, 263 of whom are employed status trainees. There were a total
of 12 vocational qualifications achieved, all at Level III. 11 of these
were in the construction sector, while the remaining VQ was for Motor
Vehicle Maintenance & Repair.
214 Modern Apprentices are currently in
training, including 4 new starts. 11 Modern Apprenticeships were also
achieved, all via the CITB.
TRAINING FOR WORK
There are currently 50 participants on
Training For Work. There were 4 VQs achieved in Engineering Manufacture,
via Inverness College, plus European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL)
qualifications for Helen Mackay and Sylvia Troxler.
41 participants started on Gateway,
while a further 47 people went into a variety of employment and training
Golf Highland delivered a course,
entitled ‘No Rough Edges’, aimed at enhancing the service provided by all
those involved with visiting golfers e.g. golf club staff, accommodation
SKILLS DEVELOPMENT GRANTS
There were a total of 7 approvals,
including assistance for Lynda Mackay from Brora to undertake a beauty
FINANCE FOR BUSINESS
Agricultural contractor Alec Webster
from Lower Reiss, the Skerray Machinery Group and Wick Golf Club were all
assisted with the purchase of specialist equipment.
Andy Johnston was awarded
assistance of £7,300 towards the upgrading of Dornoch Jail and Tourist
Information Centre. This will include providing an Internet area, cycle
hire facilities, interpretation and display areas, and the development of
a former cell to depict the history of the building when it was used as a
Pictii Photography and Design Ltd,
Brora were awarded assistance of £6,300 which will enable them to further
develop their creative design photography business. Also assisted was
David Walker, Lairg who has been assisted with the purchase of equipment,
which will enable him to include loch fishing among the activities
available via his sporting business.
ENVIRONMENTAL RENEWAL GRANTS
Lybster Harbour Society was awarded
£1,000 towards the cost of erecting a safety rail for their viewing area.
There were a total of 7 individuals
assisted via the HIE Starts programme, for a broad range of full and
part-time businesses. Raymond Harper, Wick was assisted towards starting
Tidy Gardens, and Bruce Gordon, Thurso has started a part-time document
Others assisted included: Alexander
Sutherland, who is starting an in-shore fishery business, fishing for
various species of shellfish out of Golspie harbour; Catherine Harris,
Keiss towards starting a hire business for activity equipment for
children; and, Margaret Shanks, Brora, towards starting a physiotherapy
HIE INNOVATION SUPPORT SCHEME
Two Sutherland companies received
assistance to enable them to promote their products to a wider audience.
Marina Heasman of Essential Spirit, Skerray received an approval to enable
her to attend the Harrogate trade fair while Dunrobin Castle received
assistance with a European marketing initiative. In addition, Sutherland
Brothers Ltd, Wick and Loch Duart Ltd, Scourie received assistance with
appointing consultants, while Caithness Creels, Wick received an
Innovation Credit to obtain specialist patent advice.
E-BUSINESS SUPPORT PROGRAMME
Visionries Ltd, Thurso was assisted
with the development of online marketing and selling of their products,
while North Coast Marine Adventures, Thurso and the Captain’s Gallery,
Scrabster were both assisted with website development and promotion.
Community Action Grants
Approvals towards the purchase of
equipment went to: Freswick Hall, for tables; NW Sutherland Council for
Community Action, for a colour photocopier; Ardgay & Bonar Bridge Golf
Club, for greenkeeping equipment; and Strathoykel, Rosehall & Lairg Gun
Club, for an acoustic clay pigeon trap. In addition, North & West
Sutherland Information and Advice Service are to receive £4,400 to help
with the costs of establishing new office premises in Kinlochbervie.
Historic Assynt, is to receive £2,500
towards the cost of employing a co-ordinator to take forward its Heritage
Caithness Ethnic Minorities network is
to receive £9,857 to support its unique outreach and networking project.
Grey Coast Theatre received approval of
£470 to enable its company manager to attend a fundraising workshop.
COMMUNITY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
CED approvals were for: Caithness
Ethnic Minorities Network, to support its outreach and networking
activities; the Kyle of Sutherland Initiative, to help support its
wide-ranging community consultation project; Feis Chataibh, to support its
innovative “Ceilidh Trail” project; and, Historic Assynt, to enable it to
employ a co-ordinator to take forward its Heritage Lottery project.
INVESTORS IN PEOPLE
An ACAS workshop was delivered in
Thurso, attended by 14 people.
APPROVALS FOR APRIL 2002
The following are funds approved
during the month ending 30th April 2002. Please note that the sums relate
to approvals, not payments. While finance may be approved, for a business
investment for example, it does not guarantee that the developments will
go ahead. The approval simply shows that CASE funds have been made
available, but they will not be released until evidence is received that
the project or activity has gone ahead.
Vocational Qualifications achieved