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Caithness.org News Bulletins 2002

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November 2002 Report
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MONTHLY REPORT FOR NOVEMBER 2002

INTRODUCTION
The number of unemployed in Caithness and Sutherland rose from 752 last month to 790. The revised unemployment rates in the Sutherland, Wick and Thurso ĎTravel to Work Areasí respectively are as follows (corresponding figures for last month are shown in brackets) 5.7% (5.2%), 4.7% (4.8%) and 3.0% (2.8%).

SKILLSEEKERS
315 young people are currently on Skillseekers, 297 of whom are employed status trainees. There was a total of five Level III vocational qualifications achieved in a range of engineering disciplines, while Alisdair Chalmers, Thurso, achieved a Skillstart qualification.

MODERN APPRENTICESHIPS
246 Modern Apprentices are currently in training, including 3 new starts. Gavin Henderson and Ian Munro, both from Wick, achieved their MA certificates.

TRAINING FOR WORK
There are currently 35 participants on Training For Work.

NEW DEAL
13 participants started on Gateway, while a further 27 people went into a variety of employment and training options.

SKILLS DEVELOPMENT GRANTS
There was a total of 13 approvals, 10 of which were for welding certification courses.

TOURISM TRAINING
5 people from Caithness and Sutherland attended a masterclass entitled ĎThe Power of Creativity' at Gleneagles. Delivered by the best selling author Tony Buzan the event concentrated on topics such as how to gain competitive advantage by developing the skills to learn, manage change and communicate more effectively. The delegates were also treated to a behind the scenes tour of Gleneagles. In addition, a Scotlandís Best Service Management took place in Lybster.

FINANCE FOR BUSINESS
Ackergill Limited, Wick, received approval of assistance of up to £44,000 towards an innovative conference facility development. The new building, which will be built in the style of a tree house, will be situated within the walled garden of Ackergill Tower, and will incorporate the latest in video conferencing equipment.

Thurso Laundrette was awarded assistance of £9,100 towards the purchase of dry-cleaning equipment, while J & C Grant, Lybster, were awarded £2,800 towards the purchase of specialist livestock scanning equipment.

Donald Munro, who is a fully accredited as a trainer by the CITB, is to receive up to £7,800 towards the establishment of a construction plant training centre at Ardgay. He will provide training for personnel in the construction sector, which will provide them with the opportunity to acquire certification for operating various plant and machinery.

TM Sutherland & H Chambers were awarded assistance of up to £58,300 towards the establishment of a restaurant at Evelix Filling Station, while Mackenzie's Furniture Village, Wick, were awarded assistance of up to £16,000 to enable them to develop an e-commerce operation.

ENVIRONMENTAL RENEWAL GRANTS
The Highland Council was awarded an Environmental Renewal Grant of £12,000 towards their Small Works Programme.

HIE STARTS
The new business starts were: Liam Gunn, Quoys of Reiss Farm, Wick, towards starting a plant hire business; Rachel Skene, Tongue, towards starting a textile design business; and Alexandra Henderson, Halkirk, towards starting an equestrian centre.

HIE INNOVATION SUPPORT SCHEME
Caithness Multi Media Ltd. was awarded £35,000 towards the research, design and marketing of PathUser, an innovative software programme. PathUser will provide a mechanism that will allow medical practitioners to optimise the efficient use of pathology tests through an interactive website.

Speedy Skip Hire Ltd, Thurso, was awarded assistance towards the cost of employing a consultant to undertake an independent economic & environmental consultancy. Patricia Sutherland, Harpsdale, was awarded assistance towards packaging advice for fruit preservatives. Linda Levack, Spittal, was also assisted with funding which will enable her to attend the Machinery Ring Conference in February 2003.

BUSINESS SPECIALIST SKILLS
There were approvals for: RMC Consultants Ltd, Thurso, towards a Microsoft Applications course; NDR Environmental Services, Castletown, towards a Bat & Bat Surveys course; Dunaliscaig EM Ltd, Ardgay, towards herbicide spray courses; and Sutherland Estates, Golspie, towards an Autocad course.

E-BUSINESS SUPPORT SCHEME
Hi-Profile Graphics, Thurso; Cape Adventure International, Rhiconich; Michael Shaw, Golspie Mill; Intech-Power Ltd, Scrabster; and Mackenzie's Furniture Village, Wick have all been awarded assistance for various website developments.

HIE STANDARDS
Ackergill Limited, Wick, received approval of assistance of up to £29,400 towards an innovative conference facility development.

HIE MARKS
Approvals were for: Strathmore Lodge, Halkirk, towards attending a trade exhibition in Paris; Penny Woodley, Helmsdale, towards the cost of promotional material; and Loch Duart Ltd, Scourie, towards brand development activities.

Community INVESTMENT Grants
Dunnet Forestry Trust, are to receive up to £17,892 towards the cost of implementing the management plan for Dunnet Forest.

Tourism Infrastructure
Assynt Tourism Group have received approval of £4,247 to assist with the installation of a CCTV link which will relay live images from a heronry at Lochinver to the Assynt Visitor Centre.

Community Planning
Caithness Voluntary Group is to receive £4,908, on behalf of the Caithness Rural Transport Project, to assist with a trial extension of its community transport service in Caithness.

COMMUNITY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Assynt Historical Society have received approval of up to £2,750 towards the cost of restoring the salmon bothy and ice house at Clachtoll and provide displays and other interpretative material explaining the historical role of salmon netting in the area.

Also assisted were: Assynt Tourism Group, for up to £4,247 towards the installation of a CCTV link from a heronry at Lochinver to the Assynt Visitor centre; Dunnet Forestry Trust, to assist with the implementation of a major management plan for Dunnet Forest; and Caithness Voluntary Group, on behalf of the Caithness Rural Transport Project, to assist with a trial extension of its community transport service in Caithness.

In addition, Pulteneytown Family Resource Centre and The Puffin Group, both of which are based in Wick, are to be assisted with the costs of employing a centre manager and a support worker respectively.

INVESTORS IN PEOPLE
Boulfruich Ltd., Dunbeath have achieved Investor in People status, while Caithness Voluntary Group, Duncraggie Ltd and Dornoch Academy have all been successfully re-assessed against the national standard.

APPROVALS FOR NOVEMBER 2002
The following are funds approved during the month ending 30th November 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.

SKILLSEEKERS

Vocational qualifications achieved

Name of Trainee Training Company VQ Achieved
Alisdair Chalmers, Thurso The North Highland College Skillstart
Nathan Mackay, Portskerra Rolls Royce Engineering Maintenance Level III
John Dunnett, Lyth Moray Firth Group Training Service Engineering - Agricultural Machinery Level III
Ian Munro, Wick SECTT Installing & Commissioning Electrical Systems & Equipment Level III
Stewart Bain, Wick Subsea 7 Engineering Production Level III
Jamie McPhee, Papigoe Subsea 7 Engineering Production Level III

MODERN APPRENTICESHIP SCHEME

MA Certificates achieved

Name of Trainee Company
Gavin Henderson, Wick Rolls Royce
Ian Munro, Wick SECTT

MA starts / transfers

Name of Trainee Company
Russell Munro, Dornoch The North Highland College
Stewart Ireland, Dornoch The North Highland College
William Ross, Lairg CITB

SKILLS DEVELOPMENT GRANTS

Unemployed (75% of the cost of the course)

Name Course Details Max. Grant
Alex Dunnet, Wick Welding - ASME 9 and EEMUA 158 £702.30
Ian Thain, Wick Welding - ASME 9 and EEMUA 158 £702.30
Andrew E Thain, Ackergill Welding - ASME 9 and EEMUA 158 £699.60
Andrew Thain, Wick Welding - ASME 9 and EEMUA 158 £702.30
Henry MacDonald, Wick Welding - ASME 9 and EEMUA 158 £702.83
Debbie Mackay, Thurso Basic Offshore Survival £495.62
Ronald Mackay, Bower Welding Codings £750.00
Neil Sinclair, Thurso Welding Codings £750.00
James Sutherland, Wick Welding Codings £750.00
Robert Anderson, Thrumster Welding Codings £750.00
Gordon Gunn, Wick Welding Codings £750.00
Marwyn Webster, Wick Swedish Massage Diploma £677.40

P/t Employed (less than 16 hours per week) - 25% of the cost of the course

Name Course Details Max Grant
Ian Miller, Wick LGV Licence £378.00

TRAINING OF TRAINERS

Name of Business Award Max. Grant
Highland Pursuits, Helmsdale PGA Certificate £2,608
Citizenís Advice Bureau D32, D33 & D34 assessor qualifications £1,100

TOURISM TRAINING

Title of Course Provider Venue
Scotlandís Best Service Management M H Training The Portland Arms, Lybster
The Power of Creativity Tony Buzan Gleneagles

FINANCE FOR BUSINESS

Company and Location Description Financial assistance Forecast of jobs created or retained
Ackergill Ltd, Wick Conference facilities development £44,000 2.5cr/2rt
Thurso Laundrette, Thurso Purchase of dry-cleaning equipment £ 9,100 1cr
Messrs J & C Grant, Lybster Purchase of specialist equipment £2,800 -
Mackenzie's Furniture Village, Wick Development of e-commerce trading £16,600 3 cr/1rt
Donald Munro, Ardgay Construction plant training centre £7,800 2rt
TM Sutherland & H Chambers, Brora Establish restaurant at Evelix Filling Station £58,300 9.5cr

ENVIRONMENTAL RENEWAL GRANTS

Name & Location Description Max. Grant
Highland Council, Sutherland Small Works Programme £12,000

HIE STARTS

Name & Location Trading Name
Liam Gunn, Quoys of Reiss Farm, Wick L J Gunn Plant
Rachel Skene, Tongue Rachel Skene
Alexandra Henderson, Northfield, Halkirk Northfield Equestrian Centre

HIE INNOVATION SUPPORT SCHEME

Name & Location Scheme Max. Grant
CMM Ltd., Thurso R&D and marketing of Path User product £35,000
Speedy Skip Hire Ltd., Thurso Economic & environmental consultancy £1,600
Patricia Sutherland, Harpsdale Packaging advice for fruit preservatives £250
Linda Levack, Spittal Attendance at the Machinery Ring Conference £250

SPECIALIST SKILLS

Name & Location Course Details Max. Grant
RMC Consultants Ltd, Thurso Microsoft applications course £206
NDR Environmental Services, Castletown Bat & Bat Surveys £224
Dunaliscaig EM Ltd, Ardgay Herbicide spray courses £135
Sutherland Estates, Golspie Autocad course £142

E-BUSINESS SUPPORT SCHEME

Name & Location Description Max. Grant
Hi-Profile Graphics, Thurso Web site development and purchase of equipment £1,205
Mackenzie's Furniture Village, Wick Development of e-commerce trading operation £3,700
Cape Adventure International, Rhiconich Web site upgrade £400
Michael Shaw, Golspie Mill, Golspie Web site development £360
Intech-Power Ltd, Scrabster Web site development £825

HIE STANDARDS

Name & Location Description Max. Grant
Ackergill Ltd, Wick Conference facilities development £29,400

HIE MARKS

Name & Location Description Max. Grant
Strathmore Lodge, Halkirk Trade exhibition in Paris £791
Penny Woodley, Helmsdale Promotional material £300
Loch Duart Ltd, Scourie Branding development £4,020

TOURISM INFRASTRUCTURE

Name of Applicant Project Details Max. Grant
Assynt Tourism Group CCTV link from Lochinver heronry to visitor centre £4,247

COMMUNITY INVESTMENT GRANTS

Name of Applicant Project Details Max. Grant
Dunnet Forestry Trust Implementation of Management Plan £17,892

COMMUNITY PLANNING

Name of Applicant Project Details Max. Grant
Caithness Voluntary Group Trial extension of community transport service £4,908

COMMUNITY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Name of Applicant Project Details Max. Grant
Assynt Tourism Group CCTV link from Lochinver heronry to visitor centre £4,247
Assynt Historical Society Former salmon station at Clachtoll project £2,750
Dunnet Forestry Trust Implementation of Management Plan £17,892
Caithness Voluntary Group Trial extension of community transport service £4,908
Pulteneytown Family Resource Centre Towards the cost of employing a Centre Manager £10,300
The Puffin Group, Wick Towards the cost of employing a Family Support Worker £4,100

INVESTORS IN PEOPLE

Company / Organisation achieving IIP Status
Boulfruich Ltd., Dunbeath Caithness Voluntary Group (re-assessment)
Duncraggie Ltd., Brora (re-assessment) Dornoch Academy (re-assessment)