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Caithness News Bulletins March 2004

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Graduates and employers in Caithness and Sutherland are to be given the chance to get together and discuss opportunities which will be to their mutual benefit.

Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise (CASE) is organising a Graduate Fair to be held in Thurso Town Hall on Tuesday 6th April, from 1pm – 5pm, in an effort to match the skills of recent and prospective graduates with the requirements of local employers.

The date has been chosen so that it will coincide with students being at home in the area for the Easter holidays, and also to give local employers an opportunity to plan their recruitment for summer starting dates.

Cameron Macleod from Brora, who is
employed by G&R Sutherland

Employing graduates has traditionally been the role of companies such as UKAEA, Rolls Royce, Highland Council and the NHS, however, smaller companies, such as joiners G & R Sutherland of Brora are starting to see the benefits.  According to Richard Sutherland of G & R Sutherland, who has employed Cameron Macleod for the past eight months and found the experience a positive one all round, “Cameron has undertaken a wide range of tasks for us using knowledge gained in his degree, particularly in relation to marketing, which is always a tricky area for small firms to tackle successfully and effectively”.

At AEA Battery Systems in Thurso a group of six graduates are very enthusiastic about the experience they are gaining in this leading-edge business. A spokesperson for the graduates said, “As recent graduates, returning to Caithness, the graduate training programme at AEA Battery Systems has provided an excellent opportunity to enhance our professional development.  Few graduates are given the opportunity to steer the direction of such a new and exciting young business, which has the ambition to become a market leader. We look forward to developing with the business as it continues to grow.”

Olivia Cooper, HR Manager at AEA Battery Systems, said “Graduates are the life - blood of any successful business, and Battery Systems is no exception.  We firmly believe that it is important to capture 'talent' early on in an individual's career and it is therefore vital to provide both a challenging and rewarding Graduate training programme which will stimulate the potential of these future managers. This year we have employed 5 Graduates from various disciplines ranging from Electronics Design Engineers, Accounting, English and Business Studies.”

AEAT graduates (l to r) Linda Elder,
Derek Campbell, Euan Murdoch, Dave Loughborough (managing director),
Kevin Paterson, Ruth Sutherland and Laura McDougall.

As well as employment opportunities the graduate fair will also highlight opportunity for self-employment. Advisors from CASE, Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust (PSYBT) and PICT will be on-hand for those who wish to find out more about running their own business.  Ian Thomson of CASE said “We are keen to encourage business start-up from graduates who have up-to-date skills and expertise as well as the enthusiasm needed to run and manage a small business.”

Both local UHI Millennium Institute research institutes will be represented providing information on opportunities for post graduate study.  Representatives of the Environmental Research Institute (ERI) and the Decommissioning Environmental Remediation Centre (DERC) will be there to offer advice and guidance on studentships available this year.  George Reeves the newly appointed Director of DERC said “We at the DERC, in North Highland College and the UHI Millennium Institute are able to provide training and research capability in the areas of nuclear decommissioning and environmental remediation, as well as science and technology."

According to Carol Gunn of Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise, “One of our key strategic aims is to improve the operation of the labour market and by enabling our new graduates to see opportunities in their local area, we hope that there will be a win/win for businesses and individuals.  Market research has shown clearly that there is demand from both employers and graduates, and this Fair aims to bring the two sides of the equation together.”