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Caithness.org News Bulletins 2003

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June 2003 Report
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INTRODUCTION
Overall, the number of unemployed in Caithness and Sutherland fell from 894 last month to 817. 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): 5.6% (6.7%), 5.5% (5.6%) and 2.9% (3.1%).

SKILLSEEKERS
426 young people are currently on Skillseekers, 412 of whom are employed status trainees. Emma-Jane Sutherland, Thurso, and Alistair Bremner, Wick, both achieved their Level III vocational qualifications, in Engineering Maintenance and Carpentry & Joinery respectively.

MODERN APPRENTICESHIPS
365 Modern Apprentices are currently in training, 99 of whom are over the age of 25.

TRAINING FOR WORK
There are currently 47 participants on Training For Work. There were a total of 5 Positive Outcomes, with participants going into employment following their time on the programme, in addition to the achievement of 4 industry specific qualifications.

NEW DEAL
34 participants started on Gateway, while a further 35 people went into a variety of employment and training options.

SKILLS DEVELOPMENT GRANTS
The 6 approvals included assistance of 750 for James Niven, Ardgay for a tower crane course, and 139.50 for Sheila Sutherland, Brora, for a professional curtain making and soft furnishings course.

TRAINING OF TRAINERS
Don Sutherland, Haster, has had approval of assistance which will enable him to become an Accredited Trainer in Farriery.

SHORT COURSES
A number of courses on rural skills, including drystone dyking, forklift training, chainsaw use and agricultural training were delivered via the Central Caithness Training Group.

FINANCE FOR BUSINESS
City Centre Estates (Leisure) Ltd has been awarded 64,900 to establish a high quality self-catering and leisure facility at Latheronwheel. The development, which will have its own swimming pool, will comprise three, four star, self-catering holiday apartments.  More............................
LUXURY TOURST ACCOMMODATION AT LATHERONWHEEL
Brand new luxury self-catering apartments with indoor leisure facilities are to be built at Latheronwheel, Caithness. Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise (CASE) has awarded City Centre Estates (Leisure) Ltd a funding package to turn a group of derelict buildings in the village into three, four-star standard holiday homes with swimming pool.
CASE has pledged financial support totalling 115,900, which includes 51,000 from the European-funded HIE Standards programme. HIE Standards is a Network-wide initiative designed to help accommodation providers invest in the upgrade of their premises in a bid to attract and meet the needs of today's discerning travellers.
City Centre Estates (Leisure) Ltd has ambitious plans for the properties. Managing director, Avi Wejurka explained: "As a frequent visitor to the far north I had noticed these lovely B and C Listed buildings at Craiglea and thought it was a terrible shame that they were falling into a state of disrepair.  "Our business specialises in the conversion and upgrade of old buildings and I have employed local architect Neil McDonald to help me convert the properties into luxury self-catering accommodation.
"Each property will feature two or three bedrooms - with one of the bedrooms being en-suite - fully fitted kitchens with all modern
conveniences and living rooms with beautiful views over the village and the Caithness countryside. Of course, the best feature is the indoor swimming pool with jacuzzi and sauna."   Mr Werjuka added: "I am very grateful to Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise for their support and to Alan MacLeod of the AmcL Group for his assistance in raising the finance."
The project, which is costing over 460,000, is set to create at least four full-time equivalent jobs in Latheronwheel - a rural village with limited employment opportunities.
A full-time facilities manager will be the first appointment made and part of their job will be to organise a package of activities for visitors such as sea angling, loch and river fishing and golf.
These special interest packages are set to be the highlight for guests visiting the new development. Guests will be treated to a celebrity chef if they choose to take part in culinary courses or if fishing is their preferred activity, they will benefit from expert tuition from a top angler.
Chief executive of CASE, Carroll Buxton said: "The creation of tourist accommodation or the extension of existing visitor accommodation is not something CASE normally supports. However, this project is providing a unique form of accommodation which is not widely available within the Highlands."  "We also think this is a very worthwhile project because it will bring these old buildings back into economic use, and improve the general environment of Latheronwheel."

K P Technology Ltd, Wick, has been awarded assistance of up to 20,000 to enable the development of this business which manufactures Kelvin Probes, scientific measurement devices used to investigate the properties of various materials.  
More On Kelvin Probes

Wick-based diving company, Fathoms Ltd, has been awarded assistance of 6,200 towards the purchase of specialist monitoring equipment and the development of this for use under water, while John G Mackay has been awarded 14,500 towards the purchase of specialist forestry equipment. D Steven & Son, Scrabster, have also been awarded 16,200 towards the purchase of specialist equipment.

The remaining approval was for the Sinclair Bay Lobster Company Ltd, Keiss, which was awarded 6,000 towards the cost of building a storage facility for live lobsters

 

 

HIE STARTS
Louise Sinclair, Keiss, has started trading as the Sinclair Bay Lobster Company Ltd. The business will buy lobsters in the summer months when prices are lowest and store them live until the winter when a premium price can be sought for the product.

Shona Blance, Helmsdale, started trading on the 1st June as S Blance Associates Ltd. Shona's new venture will offer small to medium sized enterprises expert advice in employment law, human resources management and Information Communications Technology (ICT) solutions. Her ICT services are specifically being targeted at the cultural heritage sector, especially those seeking the digitisation of material.

Victoria Denley-Spencer, Watten, has started True Elegance, a nail beauty business, while Jacqueline James, Bonar Bridge, will provide a range of complimentary therapy treatments.

Pure Innocence is the name of Christine Cormack's crochet baby-wear business, which is based in Keiss.

HIE INNOVATION SUPPORT SCHEME
Jobs 4 All, Thurso are to receive assistance with a technical consultancy, while Roxy's Sauces, Spinningdale is to receive consultancy advice.

SPECIALIST SKILLS
Businesses assisted with training costs were: Filmbrook Ltd, Thurso, towards projectionist training; Bridgend Building Supplies Ltd, for IT training; and, The Flower Patch, Wick, to carry out floristry training.

SPECIAL PROJECTS
In a joint project with RACE, we are contributing 20,500 towards an event aimed at promoting the food and drink of the area. Entitled 'Ainsley at Dunrobin', celebrity chef Ainsley Harriot will do a cookery demonstration using local produce and, with the assistance of local catering and hospitality students and Modern Apprentices, prepare a gourmet dinner for 150 paying guests.

Assistance of 7.5k was also awarded to the Highland Council, towards the cost of undertaking a feasibility study for the Wick harbour breakwater.

HIE STANDARDS
City Centre Estates (Leisure) Ltd has also been awarded HIE Standards assistance of 51,000 towards the cost of establishing their high quality self-catering and leisure facility at Latheronwheel

FEASABILITY & CONSULTANCY
Edward Mackay Ltd, Brora have received approval of 1,425 towards the cost of a business planning consultancy.

Community ASSISTANCE Grants
Caithness Archaeology Trust, are to receive up to 42,432 towards the cost of a 3-year appointment for the area's first archaeology development officer.

Grey Coast Theatre have received approval of 30,000 for an ambitious and innovative two-year arts development project, while Forest Enterprise is to receive up to 3,500 to assist with the cost of staging two outdoor drama events in forests at Dornoch and Rumster.

Halkirk Highland Games Committee is to be assisted with the attendance costs of a world-class pipe band and purchase of new sports equipment to celebrate 100 years of the Halkirk Games, while Sutherland Schools Sailing Club is to be assisted with the purchase cost of a sailing dinghy accessible to disabled people.

Durness Development Group, are to receive 5,605 to assist in an ambitious "inter-village marketing project" as part of the wider Mackay Country project.

Other groups to receive assistance included: Latheron, Lybster & Clyth Community Council, for purchase of mobile IT equipment; Keiss Amenity Hall Committee, to help provide professional plans for an upgrade of the Hall; and Altnaharra Fun Day Committee, to assist with a summer activity programme.

COMMUNITY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Durness Development Group, is to receive 4,343 to assist with an innovative research and archiving project entitled "Back to the Future", which is part of the wider Mackay Country project.

Also assisted were Dornoch Focus Group, to assist with the purchase of market stalls for local community events, and Loch Eriboll Pier Committee, to help with the costs of an economic assessment for a proposed pier development.

The remaining approvals, for Tongue Golf Club, to support the costs of an investigation of the economic impact of a proposed community-run golf course, and North Highland Forest Trust, to assist with staging a one-day training event for its Directors, also received matched funding in the form of Community Assistance grants.

APPROVALS FOR JUNE 2003
The following are funds approved during the month ending 30th June 2003. 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.

SKILLSEEKERS
Vocational Qualifications achieved

Name of Trainee

Training Company

VQ Achieved

Emma-Jane Sutherland, Thurso

Rolls Royce

Engineering Maintenance Level III

Alistair Bremner, Wick

CITB

Carpentry & Joinery Level III

TRAINING FOR WORK
Vocational / other qualifications achieved

Name of Trainee

Training Company

VQ / Other Qualification Achieved

Ann Johnstone, Wick

The North Highland College

REHIS Food Hygiene Certificate

James Mackay, Brora

ITP Solutions Ltd

UTI/PCN

Andrew McBeath, Lybster

ITP Solutions Ltd

CITB Excavator Certificate

Otto Mathiesen, Wick

ITP Solutions Ltd

CITB Forklift Certificate

Bonus payments are also paid to the Training Provider for every trainee who goes from the scheme to employment (including self-employment) or further education. The following have been reported to us as having gone on to employment/further education this month.

Name of Trainee

Training Company

Andrew Murray, Staxigoe

20/20 Clearview

Gloria Elliott, Canisbay

20/20 Clearview

Heather Clubb, Dornoch

The North Highland College

Ian Kirk, Lybster

The North Highland College

Murdo Steven, Dunbeath

Global Highland

SKILLS DEVELOPMENT GRANTS
Unemployed (75% of the cost of the course)

Name

Course Details

Max. Grant

Melissa Sutherland, Brora

Acrylic nail course

104.25

John-Paul Deighan, Thurso

Universal Basic Sea Survival

750.00

James Niven, Ardgay

Tower crane course

750.00

Robert J Day, Weydale

Universal Basic Sea Survival

750.00

Michael Mackenzie, Wick

Basic Offshore Survival - Norwegian Sector

750.00

Sheila Sutherland, Brora

Professional curtain making and soft furnishings

139.50

FINANCE FOR BUSINESS

Company and Location Description

Financial assistance

Forecast of jobs created or retained

Sinclair Bay Lobster Company Ltd, Keiss Storage facility for live lobsters

6,000

1.25cr

Fathoms Ltd, Wick Purchase of specialist equipment

6,200

-

K P Technology Ltd, Wick Business development

20,000

-

John G Mackay, Halkirk Purchase of specialist equipment

14,500

1

D Steven & Son, Scrabster Purchase of specialist equipment

16,200

1

City Centre Estates (Leisure) Ltd Establishment of self-catering and leisure facility at Latheronwheel

64,900

4.5 cr/0.5 rt.

HIE STARTS

Name & Location Trading Name
Louise Sinclair, Keiss Sinclair Bay Lobster Company Ltd
Shona Blance, Helmsdale S Blance Associates Ltd
Victoria Denley-Spencer, Watten True Elegance
Christine Cormack, Keiss Pure Innocence
Jacqueline James, Bonar Bridge Jacqueline James

HIE INNOVATION SUPPORT SCHEME

Name & Location Scheme
Jobs 4 All, Thurso Technical consultancy
Roxy's Sauces, Spinningdale Business consultancy

SPECIALIST SKILLS

Name & Location Course Details

Max. Grant

Filmbrook Ltd, Thurso Projectionist training

287.50

Bridgend Building Supplies Ltd, Thurso IT training

435.62

The Flower Patch, Wick Floristry training

155.00

SPECIAL PROJECTS

Name & Location Description

Max. Grant

Highland Food & Drink Festival 'Ainsley at Dunrobin' event

20,500

Highland Council Feasibility study for breakwater at Wick Harbour

7,500

HIE STANDARDS

Name & Location Description

Max. Grant

City Centre Estates (Leisure) Ltd Self catering and leisure facility at Latheronwheel

51,000

FEASABILITY & CONSULTANCY

Name & Location Description

Max. Grant

Edward Mackay Ltd. Assistance with business plan

1,425

COMMUNITY ASSISTANCE GRANTS

Name of Applicant

Project Details

Max. Grant

Caithness Archaeology Trust

Archaeology development officer

42,432

Sutherland Schools Sailing Club

Purchase disabled-access sailing dinghy

3,500

Halkirk Highland Games Committee

Pipe band fees and sports equipment purchase

3,250

Latheron, Lybster & Clyth Comm. Council

Purchase laptop IT equipment

350

Durness Development Group

Inter-village marketing project

5,605

Keiss Amenity Hall Committee

Professional fees for hall upgrade plans

2,500

Grey Coast Theatre

Two year arts development programme

30,000

Forest Enterprise

Two outdoor drama events

3,500

Altnaharra Fun Day Committee

Summer activities programme

635

Tongue Golf Club

Economic impact assessment

3,407

North Highland Forest Trust

Directors' training day

475

COMMUNITY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Name of Applicant

Project Details

Max. Grant

Dornoch Focus Group

Purchase of market stalls

3,333

Loch Eriboll Pier Committee

Economic impact assessment

200

Tongue Golf Club

Economic impact assessment

3,406

Durness Development Group

"Back to the Future" research project

4,343

North Highland Forest Trust

Directors' training day

475