Cabinet Secretary Addresses Highland Education Seminar
Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, Michael Russell MSP was guest speaker at a "16+ Learning Choices Seminar" held, in the Highland Council's headquarters, Inverness today at which around 100 delegates attended.
Delegates represented charities and the third sector, tourism, business and commerce, construction industries, energy and renewables and the public and education sectors.
Welcoming the Cabinet Secretary to the Highlands, Leader of The Highland Council, Councillor Drew Hendry said: "Young people are arguably our most precious resource and the support we can provide can make a real difference. It was great to be able to welcome the Scottish Government's Cabinet Secretary, Mike Russell to discuss initiatives for our young people. There is much we can work to achieve together."
The conference aimed to reinforce existing partnership working between the Council's education service and the business sector and to inform partners of a sustainable Highland 16+ Action Plan that will link all partners reflecting their individual contributions.
Moira Forsyth, Highland Council's Lead Officer More Choices, More Chances said: "In practical terms the things we want to continue and to develop further through the actions plan include: the provision of university level courses for S5 and S6 students; vocational options open to all school pupils through Skills for Work; the Bridge to Employment Programme rolled out with other businesses; and the continuation of Activity Agreements which provide tailored support that engage the young people who are most vulnerable such as care leavers, those with Additional Support Needs, and many others."
The highland Council has received a copy of the Follow Up statutory report on Caithness Heat and Power prepared by Audit Scotland. This Follow Up statutory report is being considered by the Accounts Commission at its meeting on 12th December 2013.
The Highland Council is fully backing plans by the Scottish Government to increase fixed penalties for littering and fly-tipping but wants to see more robust action taken against contractors who try to avoid landfill costs by dumping materials indiscriminately. It agrees that the penalty for littering should rise to £80 and the penalty for fly-tipping should increase to £200, penalties which are due to take effect from 1 April, next year.
Trading Standards Officers at The Highland Council are reminding businesses to be wary of making donations to telephone cold-callers looking for contributions to seemingly good causes. Reports have come in of Highland businesses being targeted by publishing firms seeking payments for educational publications in return for the business being named as a contributor.
The Highland Councilís snow clearing / gritting route policies and area maps are online for 2013/14 at www.highland.gov.uk/gritting. Road condition and gritting treatment reports by The Highland Councilís, Transport, Environmental and Community Services for Thursday 5 December 2013 are as follows: Caithness, South Sutherland and East Ross U2126 Oykel Bailley Bridge Road closed due to flooding.
The Highland Council and Police Scotland are to work together to ensure parking management is maintained in the Highlands when the traffic warden service Ė currently provided by the police - ends. Police Scotland have given notice of the completion of their phased withdrawal from the service from 3 February, next year.
Today (5 December 2013) 56 schools, 7 Service Points and council offices were closed due to lack of power, bad weather or loss of water. There were issues with the Councilís website and school closures online which are being investigated.
Currently firms are contacting businesses asking for support for an educational programme on cyber bullying. The line is that councils have cut back on their funding and they can offer help to classes in your local school if you donate to the programme.
Mr Neil Gillies, The Highland Councilís Director of Transport Environmental and Community Services, has announced his decision to retire from the Council, with effect from the end of January, next year. Mr Gillies joined the former Highland Regional Council in 1978 and worked on a wide range of civil engineering projects including roads, bridges, harbours and coast protection works, and road maintenance.
The by-election for a councillor to represent the Landward Caithness Ward (No 4) on The Highland Council has been won by Matthew Reiss, who will join the Independent Group on the Council Mr Reiss was one of five candidates who contested the vacancy, created by the resignation of Alex MacLeod. He joins Councillors David Bremner (Independent), Willie Mackay (Independent) and Gillian Coghill (Independent) in representing the Landward Caithness Ward.
The Highland Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG) has been successful in securing further funding to support coastal communities as part of the European Fisheries Fund Axis 4 programme. There is now over £200,000 still available to assist projects which contribute to the sustainable development of fisheries areas around the Highlands.
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