Caithness Business Fund highlights a successful year supporting 10 business apprenticeships. Published on 4th January 2024

The Caithness Business Fund is celebrating a successful year with the announcement it has provided support for 10 apprenticeships in the Caithness and North Sutherland Region in 2023. This is a significant milestone for the Fund, which has now provided support for 20 local apprenticeships, with 50% of these awarded within the last 12 months.

Reflecting the diverse employment landscape of the region, the 2023 grant awards have included support for apprenticeship opportunities in electrical installation, business administration, professional cookery, hospitality supervision and leadership, welding and fabrication and scaffolding.

Eligible SMEs in Caithness and North Sutherland can access grants of up to £5,000 from the Fund to help with employment and associated training costs for accredited apprenticeship opportunities within their business.

Scaffolding Apprentices, Jack Steven and Liam Farquhar, Caithness Scaffolding.

On behalf of Caithness Scaffolding Contractors Ltd, Mike Muir commented “During the latter part of 2022, Caithness Scaffolding had an opportunity to promote some of our long serving employees into roles in our Management Team. The situation created the requirement for two new employees to be recruited to support our activities on the Dounreay Site, and it was decided these posts would be best filled by offering the candidates a Modern Apprenticeship.

“The decision to recruit two apprentices was made easier by the availability of funding through the Caithness Business Fund. The grants received from the Fund have been used to support both vocational and on the job training programmes for the apprentices.

Managing Director, Bert Macleod expressed his appreciation of the Caithness Business Fund for their support in processing our applications and ensuring that the funding was made available shortly after the recruitment.”

The funding support for apprenticeships has been made possible by a 25-year commitment by Baillie Wind Farm Ltd to contribute £25,000[1] per annum to the Fund along with additional annual social value contributions by Cavendish Nuclear.

Trudy Morris, CEO Caithness Chamber of Commerce said “I appreciate that for many small businesses employing an apprentice can seem quite a daunting investment, but the Caithness Business Fund is helping to “level up” access to apprenticeships, ensuring businesses and organisations of all sizes are equipped with skills needed both now and in the future.

“But supporting an apprenticeship isn’t just a good business decision, it represents a sustained investment in the future of the North Highlands, and we must work together to nurture our homegrown talent and provide attractive employment opportunities for our young workforce.

By enabling individuals to advance their employment, earning, and educational prospects locally, we can help to establish a more inclusive workforce and build resilience into our local economy and communities.”

The Caithness Business Fund is open for applications on a monthly basis and encourages enquiries from SMEs interested in apprenticeship opportunities to get in touch with the Fund administration team. The Fund's mission is to promote the economic growth of Caithness and North Sutherland by supporting new and existing businesses and developing the skill base to meet new challenges. The Fund is available to both established businesses and start-ups, based in the Caithness and North Sutherland area.

[1] Linked to the RPI

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Caithness Business Fund
Naver Business Centre, Naver House, Naver Road, Thurso, Caithness, KW14 7QA

Registered in Scotland: SC450693

T: 01847 500104

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