View Full Version : Agency presentation welcomed

22-May-13, 12:43
Agencies working well in Caithness and Sutherland to offset decommissioning
COUNCILLORS Deirdre Mackay, Leader of the Caithness and Sutherland Area committee has welcomed a presentation to the committee yesterday (Monday 20 May) which clearly laid out how the various agencies in Caithness and Sutherland are working together to offset the results of Dounreay decommissioning and ensure that clear pathways are in place to prepare our young people for the future needs and demands of industry and business across all sectors.

Reports from North Highland College, Caithness and North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership, Caithness Chamber of Commerce and Skills Development Scotland were brought together for the first time outlining the work that is currently underway to ensure young people reach positive destinations when leaving school, college and university.
Cllr Mackay said: "It's important that we have baseline information across the piece in order for us to be in the best position to make the most effective use of resources for the future. This became apparent at the very first meeting of the Caithness and Sutherland Area committee and it’s really encouraging to see it before us now.
“All the agencies have a contribution to make. Caithness Chamber of Commerce through its 'Making the Right Connections' initiative is mapping the age ranges and transferable skills currently at Dounreay in preparation for the final end state. Skills Development Scotland are doing excellent work in our schools and also with young people who find themselves out of employment, they offer training packages, interview techniques, how to write a CV.
“In order that young people are in position to make the most effective choices, work has also taken place to ensure Guidance teachers in our schools have a full understanding of the courses and employment opportunities, both at the present time and for the future. North Highland College, in a direct response to the emerging energy sector in the area, have made changes to their courses to keep abreast of this. They have added new energy strands to engineering courses and they are hoping to introduce a Masters in engineering by 2014. This is all critically important for the area and we cannot afford to take our foot off the pedal in terms of the future. The local Councillors have a critical role to play in terms of leadership, scrutiny and governance.”
Transport to colleges and training centres is a key issue faced by students from outlying villages across both counties and one which can act as a real barrier to a chosen career path. Members voiced support for practical options to be thoroughly investigated and, given the complexities of rural transport, a report will be brought back to the Spring committee.
It was noted that the boundary of Caithness and North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership, which covers the Dounreay travel to work area, is historical. The point was well made that people travel to Dounreay from all over Sutherland and that the boundary should accordingly cover the whole County. Eann Sinclair agreed to take this back to his Board for consideration.
Civic Leader Gail Ross added: "This is one of the key roles of the Caithness and Sutherland Area Committee”. “This is the kind of information we need to come to every committee. It's great to see partnership working and the amount of effort that is being put in to make sure our young people are helped and encouraged through school, college and university and also when they leave to go into the world of work. It's heartening to see help being given with apprenticeships and skills training across a wider range of sectors across Caithness and Sutherland.”
Councillor Ross continued “We need to make sure our young people are equipped with the skills needed to find jobs that are suitable for them to enable them to stay in the area. We have a wonderful opportunity coming up with engineering, tourism and many other growing sectors which we need to make sure we are taking full advantage of and encourage our young people to stay here and work."
"I was particularly heartened to hear from Skills Development Scotland about the huge part they are playing in getting young people into employment or training. There has traditionally been a focus on either the brightest kids, those who have brilliant grades and know exactly what their career path will be or young people on the opposite end of the scale who have no idea what they want to do and struggle academically. Whilst these are very important areas, and this support needs to continue, we have a huge chunk of people in the middle, those who perhaps learn well but have no idea what they want to do or what their choices are. I was pleased to hear that every young person is going to get the chance to meet guidance staff and SDS support teams in schools, more than once if need be and to ensure they are aiming for a positive destination on leaving school."

In This Section