Monday, 28 February 2011



News release
For immediate use 28th February 2011


Highlands and Islands MSP Rob Gibson has today welcomed a Scottish Government announcement that £1,148,875 is to be awarded to the Caithness Chamber of Commerce to support the retraining and redeployment of the Dounreay workforce and wider community.

The cash boost comes as part of a £5 million round of funding for various Highland charities  and agencies . The funds will go towards the Chamber of Commerce "Make the Right Connections" support programme.

The cash has been awarded after the recently passed Scottish budget, which aims to protect and create jobs to drive economic recovery in the Highlands.

Speaking on the Caithness cash boost, Mr Gibson said:-

“This will come as welcome news to participants in the admirable ‘making the right connections’ scheme, which carries out important work in retraining and redeploying Dounraey workers.

“As well as concentrating on Dounraey employees, past and present, there is a community element to this scheme, so many more folk in North Sutherland and Caithness will benefit from this cash boost.

“We must do everything we can to minimise the ‘Dounraey impact’ here in Caithness, and support schemes such as this go a long way to ensuring this area is not left with the waste in the wake of the nuclear station's decommissioning 

“The recent SNP budget had jobs, training and skills at its heart. We believe that driving economic recovery in the Far North requires us to keep up a skilled workforce. That is why we have increased Highland apprenticeships by 53% since 2007, and will continue to make Highland jobs a priority if re-elected this year.”



For skills, training and education, the Scottish Government's budget will:

* Invest a further £11.5 million to create 25,000 modern apprenticeship places - a record high for Scotland

* Provide 7,000 flexible training opportunities for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) - 2,000 more than originally planned in the draft Budget

* Protect the total number of core university places and invest £8 million for an extra 1,200 college places

* Invest an additional £15 million across 2010-11 and 2011-12 in funding for college bursaries

* Maintain the educational grants for pupils and college students most in need (Educational Maintenance Allowances (EMAs)) which were cut south of the border

* Invest £10m to deliver the Community Jobs Scotland programme in partnership with the Third Sector, providing new support for 2,000 unemployed people across Scotland

* Provide additional investment of £5m to support the extension of the Employer Recruitment Incentive to deliver up to 5,000 new jobs for individuals aged 18+, who have been unemployed for 6 months or more and who are participating in the Training for Work programme.

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