Chamber Matters: A Prosperous Future
Published 20 Dec 2013Stephen Sutherland, Caithness Chamber of Commerce Chairman and Director of JGC Engineering and Technical Services looks ahead to a prosperous future for Caithness and North Sutherland.
In my roles I am lucky to meet a lot of people both from the local area and further afield in both Private and Public sectors and the one thing that always leaves an impression on me is the enthusiasm of people involved with business, both within Caithness and the feedback from businesses out with Caithness on the quality of what we produce or offer.
The Caithness economy has been heavily influenced by Dounreay, and there is no doubt that over the next 10 years as it is decommissioned it will leave a void, but the important thing is that Private business is already filling this void and we have a lot of opportunities ahead to not only fill this void but surpass the levels of employment previously seen at Dounreay.
We often read negative stories and unfortunately this is sometimes in our nature, however, when I talk to people out with Caithness I always hear how good things are up here.
Engineering is my business and the potential for growth in this Sector is significant, be it in Nuclear, Oil and Gas, Utilities or Renewables Services and with good business planning, the calibre of people we have in the area and Training that is second to none, we should have real opportunity ahead to grow our economy.
Ports and Harbours I believe will lead the economic growth of Caithness with support from the Private as well as Public sectors.
We have new exploration and development West of Shetland in Oil and Gas Sectors, Renewables in the Pentland Firth and Orkney waters where Scrabster will be Key as well as smaller harbours such as Gills, and Offshore Wind to the East where Wick is strategically located to be a significant player in this market.
Tourism through the efforts of Venture North and the developments at John O’Groats as two examples are already I believe attracting people to the area and again looking at the enthusiasm this will only grow.
Other Sectors are growing also and taking opportunities to upskill their employees through the Chambers’ Make the Right Connections (MTRC) project all in all giving more and more opportunities to build stronger business and have a better future.