4th October 2019
The success of businesses in the North Highlands was recognised last week at Caithness Chamber of Commerce’s twelfth Annual General Meeting, held at Mackays Hotel in Wick.
Around 40 attendees from across the business community were in attendance and were updated on the year’s activities by the Chamber’s Chief Executive, Trudy Morris, and Chair, Stephen Sutherland. Attendees heard about the continued growth of the Chamber’s membership, of the success of initiatives such as Developing the Young Workforce, and of the Chamber’s plans for the coming year.
The event also offered an opportunity to bid farewell to Bill Baxter of Imenco, who has stepped down as Vice-Chair of the Chamber in light of his impending retirement. Stephen Sutherland thanked Bill for his tireless work on behalf of the Chamber over the years and wished him all the best for the future.
With Bill leaving, the post of Vice-Chair was appointed to Louise Sinclair of Sinclair Bay Subsea. Louise has been an active member of the Chamber Board since joining in 2017 and in her role as Vice-Chair will help the Board set strategic objectives for the Chamber in the coming years.
The final item of business at the AGM was the launch of the Chamber’s new website, which is now online at caithnesschamber.com. This complete revamp brings the Chamber’s digital presence fully in line with modern standards and provides additional opportunities for the Chamber to promote its members and the North Highlands as a whole.
Following the AGM were the Developing the Young Workforce North Highland Awards, recognising the achievements of businesses and young people across the region over the past year. This year saw awards being given to three apprentices and two companies.
Emma Gunn, a fourth-year apprentice with Nuvia, was recognised not only for her excellent work with the company – including an instrumental role in winning work as part of a competitive tender exercise – but for her tireless efforts as a local STEM ambassador, which included organising and promoting a “Discover Engineering” event in partnership with North Highland College UHI and local engineering companies.
Rachel Miller, who is undertaking a two-year apprenticeship with Identity Hair Salon in Golspie, was also recognised for her hard work and rapid advancement. In addition to her duties within the salon and her work towards her NVQ Level 2 Hairdressing, she has already achieved an advanced qualification in Future Foundation Cutting at the nationally renowned Toni & Guy Academy.
The final apprenticeship award went to Emma Gunn, a fourth-year Engineering Design Apprentice with Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd. Over the course of her four years Emma has completed an HND in Engineering Systems and is working towards a BEng in Electrical and Electronic Engineering. She is an active STEM ambassador and has attended numerous events across the UK to represent Dounreay.
Nuvia Ltd were the first employer recognised at the event, having recently won the Developing the Young Workforce Award at the Highland Business Awards 2019. The judges were particularly impressed with their induction programme, which not only recognises and accounts for the often difficult change from an educational environment to a work one, but which actively involves the apprentices’ families in the process.
Also recognised were Skibo Ltd, in light of their dedicated work to develop young people from across the North of Scotland and their active involvement with local schools, including their Executive Chef’s “adoption” of Dornoch Primary School as part of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts’ “Adopt a School” programme.
Following the AGM and the awards, the night was rounded off with a delicious buffet courtesy of Mackays Hotel and a range of team building activities.