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Growing a new generation of engineers

22 March 2011

A new £110,000 project investing in the future of young people and helping to broaden their understanding of the opportunities available locally has been launched in Caithness and North Sutherland.

The two year project is funded by Dounreay Site Restoration Limited (DSRL), HIE and the Highland Council. Focusing on the future needs of the engineering industry in the area, the project will provide specialist equipment, training and work placements for local teaching staff.

The project will concentrate on S1-3 pupils in the technology departments of the four secondary schools in Thurso, Wick, Farr and Golspie, ensuring they are well informed before they make their subject choices and when they are starting to think about their future careers. Activities will concentrate on engaging local industry and help make classroom learning relevant by putting it in a real life context.

Stuart Tait, a teacher of technical education at Wick High School, was recently appointed as the project's part time coordinator and will work with the four schools over a two day per week contract. Stuart, who has been teaching at the school since August 2008 has a strong background in industry, having previously worked for UKAEA and Kongsberg.

Ken Nicol, DSRL's socio-economic manager said, "This is one of several education and skills initiatives we are supporting to assist the area adjust to the loss of one major industry and grasp the opportunities now emerging in another, the marine energy sector around the Pentland Firth. Therefore we need to ensure that the young people are appropriately skilled for employment in this new sector."

Roy Kirk, the area manager for HIE said, "HIE is delighted to support this initiative. It builds on the core strengths of Caithness and North Sutherland in developing the awareness for school pupils in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). These students will be driving forward the future of Caithness and North Sutherland and we are working with our partners to ensure that they are given every advantage to build on the legacy of the past to create a new future for the area."

This project supports a number of activities within the Caithness and North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership (CNSRP) Programme.

Eann Sinclair, CNSRP Programme Manager, said, "This is a great example of local organisations coming together to support a project that is directly relevant to one of the two priority areas in the Caithness and North Sutherland Action Plan. HIE, DSRL and Highland Council work closely together with NDA, Scottish Government and others under the auspices of the Caithness and North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership to agree and prioritise activities that will help the area become less dependent on Dounreay-related work."

For more information on this project please contact Laura Robertson, Development Manager - Young People and Enterprise at HIE on 01463 244528 or email laura.robertson@hient.co.uk


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