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Cabinet Secretary visits Ross-shire business

09 September 2010

John Swinney, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth, has been in Dingwall to look at how the latest in service management technology can provide high value posts for rural areas.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise, which works closely with Vertex to support its growth ambitions, had invited the Cabinet Secretary to visit the business which delivers complex contracts for private and public sector clients across its two Highland centres.

Vertex, which employs approximately 500 people in Dingwall and Forres, took the opportunity to highlight the success of its latest expansion into homeworking. This model offers the business and workers the benefits of more flexible working and reduced costs. In a partnership project calling on the support of HIE, the Highland Employer Coalition and Jobcentre Plus, Vertex employed 12 people to deliver services for Westminster City Council from their homes mostly in east Ross-shire.

Alison Wilson, head of financial and business services at HIE, commented: "Mr Swinney was able to see a review of the initial pilot which clearly identified that both the quality and productivity of work from staff at home was higher than average. The pilot has added to the growing momentum building within the business services sector for homeworking.

"HIE is delighted to see the model working successfully as it offers the opportunity for businesses to expand beyond the constrictions of their sites, and offers flexible jobs for people, particularly in remote areas, who may have been discouraged from working because of travel or other family commitments."

Kathleen Lohse, customer services manager at Vertex in Dingwall, said: "The pilot has allowed us to pursue new business, and we are already recruiting more homeworkers to take on work currently in the pipeline. We have found the home working model works very well, and as we expand it we are looking at techniques we can put in place to attract workers from across the region. This includes the creation of on-line training and the possibility of a rural hub to support workers."

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