I-pads for the Learning Centre: the WDT board has approved the purchase of two I-pads and accessories up to a maximum of £850, for use in the Learning Centre and Digital Inclusion projects. These will be a great help especially to the older people taking part in the two I-pad classes that are already going, and the the folk waiting for the new class to start in early 2014.
A business loan application that had been received by WDT has now been withdrawn by the applicant.
Training Grants: Nine further requests for grants towards the NFU Farm Safety course were approved, making a total of 22 people (of the 24 attending) being eligible for and each receiving a £50 grant towards this very important course.
These are some of the courses in the pipeline for the new year:
A Business Start Up course (likely the very end of February) – course content and dates and times are still flexible, so if you think you would like to take advantage of this free course please contact Corinne as soon as possible. This may also be relevant to businesses who have already started but want some help putting together business plans for future development. Cost: free. Time: one to 1.5 days
Basic work related courses: for example Food Hygiene, First Aid, etc. If there are 6 people needing to do any of the Orkney College Short Courses then these may be able to happen on Westray. The new Learning Centre Coordinator will be contacting local businesses to find out what your training requirements are for the next year.
Evening self study group (for people doing ECDL or any distance learning). This can start when the new internet connection and computers have arrived for the Learning Centre
Drop in sessions for Ipad learners and anyone needing help getting online
Other courses – contact the new WDT Learning Centre Coordinator to discuss (through the WDT office). Things like SAGE accounting, manual handling, or recreational and leisure courses (genealogy online, digital photography, etc) have all been suggested already.
Initial investigations have now been completed and have shown that re-opening the Rapness Quarry is unlikely to be viable, mostly because of the poor quality of the stone and the large amount of waste (up to 1/3 of stone blasted will end up as waste, and even the good stuff isn’t very suitable for concrete). WDT will therefore start investigating whether there are other potential sites on Westray that could be opened or reopened and provide better quality stone. If you can help with this (know of any quarries that might fit this) please let us know.
WP and WDT have now appointed a consultant to carry out the business review and feasibility study at Westray Processors. Colin Clark has already made his first visit to Westray. We expect to get the results of this study back soon.
Because of its importance to the local economy, Westray Development Trust has been investigating the possibility of investment in Westray Processors Ltd, and in partnership with the factory management is commissioning a feasibility study and business plan projections to identify what would make a difference to the viability of the factory.Westray Processors Ltd is a crab-processing company that is one of the bigger employers of Westray and also takes catch from a number of Westray based fishing vessels. It is a co-operative, and has a large number of local shareholders. The factory has struggled with profitability, largely because of extremely high energy costs and limitations of the old building it owns.