Our Programme is a dynamic one, continually evolving to meet the economic opportunities ahead.
Focus North has developed a strategic three-year plan to maximise the opportunities for the north Highland economy. This plan covers the time period 2023-2026.
Our Programme is dynamic and ever-evolving. However, we record our goals and measure progress under four key themes, outlined in more detail below.
The area will undergo a Just Transition to a sustainable, resilient, low carbon economy offering its increased working population fair work and higher average household incomes than in 2022.
We will attract employment opportunities in new industries and sustain existing sectors to increase the number of private sector businesses and enable a larger and more diverse regional economy.
Investment in the area will increase compared to 2022.
People and Communities
The growing population will support a thriving, wellbeing economy where school rolls are rising, school leaver destinations are broadening, and apprenticeship uptake is higher than today and covering all of the professions that matter to our region.
The workforce will benefit from Fair Work values, such as the Real Living Wage, with diverse skillsets to support the transition to a net zero economy.
The area will be a leader in the transformation to a low-carbon economy. Sustainable economic growth will be driven by projects underpinned by the principles of a Just Transition, the circular economy and leveraging renewable energy production and consumption.
Communities will benefit by engaging and investing with the opportunities presented by the transition to net-zero, and partners will look to develop and strengthen supply chains by supporting local procurement.
We will demonstrate progress against our goals. We will publish key targets, measure progress and report against these. We will regularly check in with our stakeholders on how they see our progress and make the results of this public.
Focus North will deliver these goals by focussing on the major existing and emerging opportunities detailed below, concentrating on a rolling three-year window:
We will develop and sustain a north coast space cluster around Sutherland Spaceport, the UK’s first vertical launch site. The cluster will attract space industry companies to locate in the region, driving job creation, data capture and technological innovation.
We will work with ScotWind developers and other demonstrator projects in our area. These will ultimately provide more than five gigawatts of renewable electricity from around the northern coasts. The existing supply chain skills and onshore infrastructure potential will be further developed to create new, well-paid, and long-term employment opportunities.
We will work with developers to maximise the potential for jobs in the build out and O&M phases as this technology emerges.
We will work with energy developers and hydrogen industry companies to develop the emerging hydrogen economy. Green Hydrogen production, storage, transportation and usage is being developed and will contribute to a Net Zero economy potentially employing hundreds of people. The emerging hydrogen industry also delivers opportunities for future transport solutions, and the region is already trialling hydrogen/electric rail and aviation.
We will work with public, private, and third sector partners to capitalise on the region’s immense natural capital. The Flow Country – seeking to be recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site – attracts international attention. The vital peatland restoration work will provide opportunities for sustainable employment and help deal with the climate emergency.
We will work with the tourism representative bodies to sensitively maximise the economic potential from our region that is already well known for its natural beauty, rugged coastlines, and world-class visitor attractions.
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