Relocation and Innovation in Inverness - Skills and science focus for SDS's new centre

church street signing
Left: Inverness City Leader Ian Brown, John McClelland, Chair of SDS and Highland Council Leader Drew Hendry

Issued by Skills Development Scotland

A new employability and skills centre supporting the people and businesses of Inverness will open soon as Skills Development Scotland (SDS) today became the latest organisation to announce plans to return to the heart of the city.

The state-of-the-art centre, in the city’s Church Street, will also feature an exciting interactive space offering young people the chance to learn more about potential science based careers in the Highlands.

It marks a return to the city centre for Skills Development Scotland (SDS) and its 25 staff who have been based at the Green House in Beechwood Business Park since 2007.

SDS Chair John McClelland CBE was clear about the benefits the move will bring.

He said: “This investment brings our services for young people, those who are unemployed and those who are looking to recruit into the centre of the city and the community.

“This new location is ideally situated to maximise the opportunities people have to access our services and for SDS to provide what people need where they need it.

“It is also very important to SDS, as a locally-focused organisation, to be an integral part of the revitalisation of the city centre.”

Mr McClelland visited the Church Street site with Leader of the City of Inverness Area Councillor Ian Brown and Council Leader Drew Hendry.

Plans for the council owned property at 1-5 Church Street will see SDS as lead tenant open a fully refurbished public access centre and office accommodation later this year.

It will also be part of a digitally connected network of STEM learning labs distributed regionally across the Highlands.

Councillor Brown, representing the property owner (Inverness Common Good Fund) said: “I welcome Skills Development Scotland’s decision to lease 1-5 Church Street which shows great confidence in Inverness, brings jobs and services to the area and also helps to provide a healthy return on the major £1.8 million capital investment by the Inverness Common Good Fund to revitalise this significant city centre property.”

He added: “Highland Council has awarded a contract to Morrison Construction for a full refurbishment of the interior of the four storey office block; renewal of the front façade; and new roof covering. I am delighted that the works which have started are expected to be completed in a year.”

Leader of The Highland Council, Councillor Drew Hendry welcomed the signing of the lease agreement between SDS and The Highland Council he added: “Having a key public sector organisation, Skills Development Scotland, as lead tenant is a major boost to the re-development of the city centre.”

He added: “I am delighted with the fruitful discussions we have had with SDS, HIE and UHI, regarding the potential to create STEM learning labs in the new offices in the centre of Inverness. This would demonstrate our shared commitment to equipping our young people with the science and technology skills they need to take advantage of the opportunities opening up in this field. We also have a commitment to ensuring digital inclusion across all parts of the community. I look forward very much to working with our partners to make this a reality.”






2 Mar 2015
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