Economic Development Annual Review
2014 / 2015
Economic Development Annual Review 2015 | 1
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3
Economic Development Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4
City Region Deal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Aberdeen City and Shire Economic Future . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6
Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Partnership . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Aberdeenshire European Fisheries Fund . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9
Agriculture and the Land Based Sector . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Business Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Business Gateway. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Community Economic Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Digital Connectivity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Energetica – Scotland’s Energy Corridor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Energy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
European Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Film Office . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Fisheries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Food & Drink . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
LEADER Programme . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
Regeneration and Town Centres . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
Renewable Energy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Sustainability and Climate Change . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
Tourism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
Working For Families . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Looking Forward . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Cover photograph copyright: BBC Scotland/Slate Films, Photographer: Mark Mainz
BBC Scotland drama for BBC One Scotland and BBC Two, romantic mystery ‘STONEMOUTH’ based on
Iain Bank’s best-selling novel was part filmed on location in Macduff and Banff.
2 | Economic Development Annual Review 2014 / 2015
It has been another hectic year in the economy of Aberdeenshire and the North-east, with many
good and positive developments in several of our industries including food and drink and tourism.
However by the beginning of 2015 it was clear that there would be challenges due to the oil price
drop with significant impacts on local companies and their employees. Aberdeenshire Council is
part of the Scottish Oil and Gas Jobs Task Force and has been working closely with fellow agencies to
provide support to those individuals affected and to deploy innovative ways of assisting companies
to lessen the impact on their employees from the downturn.
Throughout 2014 and early 2015, we in the Economic Development Service along with our
colleagues across Aberdeenshire Council have worked on a wide range of projects to promote the
wider economic growth of our area. Considerable effort to support the regeneration of Fraserburgh
has continued and the effects are now being seen in terms of optimism and physical change. Indeed
considerable resource has been provided to help the town centres of Banff, Macduff, Fraserburgh
and Peterhead, as part of our ‘4 Towns Programme’ with mentoring and training for retailers and
promotion of the towns as a great place to shop and visit.
A wide range of assistance has been provided to our key industries and work on revising our
approach to Food and Drink, including Fish Processing, Agriculture and Tourism has been
undertaken. We have worked directly with the businesses operating in this sector. In 2015/16 we
will see new strategies and approaches for developing and promoting our industries implemented.
I hope you find this summary of activities useful. We are always open to getting feedback and
suggestions on how Economic Development in Aberdeenshire can assist and promote our economy.
Head of Economic Development
Economic Development Annual Review 2014 / 2015 | 3
Economic Development Overview
Economic Development – A Priority
I am delighted to provide a short welcome as the new Chair of Infrastructure Services Committee.
Economic Development is one of our key priorities as a Council and as you will read here, a lot has
been achieved in the last year. I’m keen to see the work already underway to support economic
growth continue – and to see the priorities of Regeneration and the City Region Deal come to the
fore in the coming year. The new Scottish strategy for economic development was published in
March 2015, called Scotland’s Economic Strategy, it provides us with a clear over-arching framework
to increase competitiveness and tackle inequality in Scotland. Its four priorities are:
1. Investing in our people and our infrastructure in a sustainable way;
2. Fostering a culture of innovation and research and development;
3. Promoting inclusive growth and creating opportunity through a fair and inclusive jobs market
and regional cohesion; and
4. Promoting Scotland on the international stage to boost our trade and investment, influence and
As someone who has worked with the Business Community in my working life at the Valuation
Office Agency, I really appreciate what our local companies and entrepreneurs have achieved and
will continue to achieve for themselves, their employees and for the wider benefit of the people of
Councillor David Aitchison
Chair Infrastructure Services Committee
4 | Economic Development Annual Review 2014 / 2015
City Region Deal
During 2014, work began on the development of a City Region Deal for Aberdeen which will include
Aberdeenshire. There is no prescribed approach to a City Region Deal which is agreed with both
the UK Government and the Scottish Government. Both Aberdeenshire Council and Aberdeen City
Council have made a commitment to work together with partners including the Universities to
develop a bid for a City Region Deal.
City Region Deals are relatively new initiatives which aim to devolve the necessary powers and
resources to local councils and partnerships, enabling them to address local needs and unlock the
full economic potential of their region to generate levels of economic growth above the norm.
For the Aberdeen City Region Deal we have been building upon the foundations of private-public
co-operation facilitated through ACSEF over a number of years. A City Region Deal is an opportunity
to implement many of the recommendations and strategies developed by ACSEF in its Economic
Manifesto and Action Plan for Aberdeen City and Shire.
The UK Chancellor of the Exchequer announced on 18 March 2015, that the Government will open
negotiations for a new City Region Deal for Aberdeen.
There are three stages to a City Region
Deal – Development, Negotiation and
Implementation. The development stage
involves preparing a set of proposals upon
which to negotiate with the Scottish and
UK Governments. This involves analysis and
collation of existing strategies and priorities
and includes engagement and consultation
with key stakeholders. A series of thematic
workshops were held with both private and
public sector representation in May and
June 2015, and a discussion took place
during the Oil and Gas UK conference in
June 2015. Work on the details of the bid
are being finalised and negotiations are
expected to begin in Autumn 2015.
Work gets underway on the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route – image courtesy of Neil Moir
Economic Development Annual Review 2014 / 2015 | 5
Aberdeen City and Shire
Aberdeen City and Shire Economic Future ACSEF is the public-private partnership that drives
economic development in the region. It brings together Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City Councils,
Scottish Enterprise, Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, Skills Development Scotland and
VisitScotland with representatives from business and academia to ensure a collaborative approach to
growing the economy and enhancing quality of life.
The aim is to ensure the long term economic prosperity of the North-east. To achieve this ACSEF
focuses on the provision of infrastructure, the drive for innovation, the development of people and
the promotion of the region with all its attractions, whilst working to build on Aberdeen City and
Shire’s reputation around the world for excellence in oil and gas, and establish the region as a global
This year has seen three new members appointed to the Board – Professor Sir Ian Diamond of the
University of Aberdeen, John Harris of Gaffney, Cline & Associates, and Jeanette Forbes of PCL Group.
The past twelve months has seen ACSEF take the opportunity to refresh its strategy and review its
approaches to the key sectors in the region and how these will allow us to reflect the changing economic
climate in the North-east – assessing the ability to adapt and respond to current and future conditions.
Over the past twelve months, ACSEF has:
• Supported and endorsed the new North-east of Scotland Food & Drink Strategy which has
identified the opportunities to grow and develop the sector. The Grampian Food & Drink Strategy
Leadership Group will lead on the delivery of the strategy.
• Developed a framework for supporting the Life Sciences sector to enhance its contribution to the
local economy and build on its growing global reputation.
• Supported and endorsed a review of Tourism support structures in Aberdeen City and Shire which
recommends a single tourism organisation across the region to ensure a sustainable and aligned
approach to delivering the Area Tourism Strategy.
• Commissioned a Regional Skills Strategy alongside Skills Development Scotland which will set out
a plan for a collective response to skills issues in the region.
• Worked with the Oil & Gas Industry Leadership Group to ensure the aims of ACSEF are aligned
with the refreshed Scottish Oil & Gas Strategy
• Commissioned a Housing Needs Strategy to determine the need and demand for key worker
housing relative to the private sector. This study will provide ACSEF with potential models for the
supply of housing to meet the current and emerging needs of employing organisations in the
6 | Economic Development Annual Review 2014 / 2015
The findings of all this work are being used by ACSEF to develop a refreshed Economic Strategy for
the North-east, which will be the blueprint for the region’s economic development activity up
The past year has also seen real progress on infrastructure – in particular the Aberdeen
Western Peripheral Route / Balmedie-Tipperty dualling, improved Broadband connectivity, and
commencement of works on a replacement Inveramsay Bridge.
The Digital Connectivty workstream commenced by ACSEF, has to date secured £5.38 m from the
Super Connected Cities programme which is providing improved download and upload speeds in
areas of the City and part of the Energetica corridor including to the Elevator Business Accelerator
The Energetica steering group has set out four strategic objectives for Energetica: to consolidate the
region’s position as Europe’s energy capital; attract new, high-value investment and people to the
region; grow the international trade of indigenous business, and maximise the quality of design/
development and quality of life.
Ensuring the region’s ports and harbours have the capacity to grow and are fit for purpose to
compete globally to exploit opportunities around the oil and gas subsea and decommissioning
sectors has been identified as a key priority for ACSEF.
ACSEF is also working with the funding partners to prepare the submission of a City Region Deal
bid to the UK Government’s Department of Communities and Local Government and the Scottish
Government. The individual sector reviews and the strategic Regional Economic Strategy undertaken
by ACSEF will help identify the projects to be included in the bid.
ACSEF is committed to taking a collaborative approach, working closely with business, the
Universities and other industry bodies to drive forward economic development. As a partnership, our
main goal is the long term prosperity for the region.
Further information can be
found at www.acsef.co.uk
Images courtesy of ACSEF Image Bank
Economic Development Annual Review 2014 / 2015 | 7
Aberdeen City and Shire
The priority for the Area Tourism Partnership (ATP) is to ensure the delivery of the tourism strategy
‘Building on Our Strengths 2013-2020.’ In order to achieve this, the ATP works with industry and our
partners on a variety of projects relating to the needs of the sector.
This year our focus has been on improving customer service and delivering the second Aberdeen
City and Shire Tourism Week.
Customer Service Initiatives:
WorldHost was launched in 2014 and ATP continues to work towards achieving WorldHost
Destination Status. To succeed we require 25% of tourism businesses to gain business recognition.
To achieve this, businesses must train over 50% of their customer facing staff in any of the WorldHost
training programmes. Since the launch, over 600 delegates have been trained and 38 businesses
have achieved Business Recognition in the area.
Discover Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire
Discover Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire is an initiative to help ensure that our visitors enjoy the wide
variety of things to see and do in the area. Many of the staff working in frontline tourism posts are
unfamiliar with what’s on their doorstep. To address this issue, the ATP along with its partners, have
been developing an online module that provides a ‘flavour’ of the key attractions and activities the
area has to offer. The module complements the WorldHost programme by providing greater detail on
local information and will be available to all tourism related businesses in August.
Looking ahead, there is a need to ensure the sustainability of the organisations that represent the
industry across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. To this end, a review has been commissioned by the
ATP to look at future opportunities and the organisational structures that would best support the
tourism industry going forward.
Celebrating Tourism Week (Jan 2015)
The Year of Food and Drink
VisitScotland hosted the launch at an evening reception which showcased the wonderful produce
from the area.
This year’s conference, attracted over 125 industry delegates who came to listen to Dr Paul Redmond,
our key note speaker from Manchester University. Dr Redmond has presented at numerous events
and conferences around the world. His research on Generation Y and the Future of Work has
garnered him praise and respect from a range of national and international organisations, for whom
he consults about the influence of social and economic factors on employability. Social media and
online booking were also covered as well as a variety of other workshops during the conference.
Further information can be found at:
8 | Economic Development Annual Review 2014 / 2015
Aberdeenshire European Fisheries Fund
Aberdeenshire was one of twelve Fisheries Local Action Group (FLAG) areas in Scotland to benefit
from funding through Axis 4 of the European Fisheries Fund (EFF). An original allocation of £1.1
million was received from European resources for the delivery of the AEFF programme which
officially launched in March 2012.
EFF Axis 4 is an area-based programme to support sustainable development delivered locally
through FLAG partnerships. The EFF Axis 4 programme aims to promote economic diversification
and build capacity of fisheries communities across the European Union through local projects that
build knowledge and skills and in turn facilitate innovation and cooperation in fisheries areas.
The Aberdeenshire European Fisheries Fund officially closed in June 2014 after a total of 9 rounds of
funding. At present AEFF is in a transition period as the programme aims to have all funded projects
complete by October 2015. The Aberdeenshire European Team is also in the process of bidding to
secure a new allocation of funding for the next European Programme from 2015-2020.
• The AEFF Programme closed in June 2014 after 9 rounds of funding.
• 24 projects have been approved in the Aberdeenshire area.
• Total commitment of over £690,000 in AEFF Funds.
The European Fisheries Fund
for Rural Development
:Europe investing in rural areas
Examples of Projects:
1. Pontoons to increase berthing capabilities by 30-40 berths were installed in
Fraserburgh Harbour in order to diversify the Harbour’s revenues.
2. A new slip-way was successfully installed at Macduff Harbour to increase the efficiency of Macduff
Shipyards and allow new vessels to be launched into the harbour directly.
3. A one tonne ice machine was installed at Banff Harbour in order to service the needs of local
4. An unused fisheries building located at the Macduff Harbour front was transformed into a new
Seafood café called “The Seafront”.
5. A Development Officer post was funded to help support fish processors based in the North-east of
Scotland. This will enable improved industry cohesion and help strengthen local markets for fish.
6. A derelict building located in Portsoy was restored and developed into a Boatshed which will offer
training on traditional boat building, restoration and sail training for participants of all ages.
Further information can be found at: www.aeff.co.uk
PORT’S Boatshed, Portsoy
Gardenstown Harbour Eco-Tourism
Vessel Access Project
Fraserburgh Harbour Pontoons
Economic Development Annual Review 2014 / 2015 | 9
Agriculture and the Land Based Sector
Launched in April 2013, the Ringlink Rural Internship provides young people with a career interest
in the land-based sector with an individualised and highly-practical work-based introduction to the
Fifteen young people were selected from nearly 50 applicants for the second round of the internship
which was run in partnership with Ringlink (Scotland) Ltd, the Scottish Agricultural Organisation
Society Ltd (SAOS) and Aberdeenshire Council, which provided core funding in 2013 and 2014 for
the project from the Six Key Areas fund.
Interns are matched with a local farm or rural business for a work experience placement which is
preceded by a two-week induction and training programme, including health and safety, first aid
and instruction in tractor driving. The 26-week placement sees interns working in practical workbased environments under the supervision of an employer/mentor, with further training and tuition
sessions. Interns are paid in line with industry requirements and work a 39-hour week.
The programme has now turned out a total of 18 trained, highly employable young people over the
past two years, virtually all of whom are now carving out a career for themselves in the farming and
related sectors. Many are now in full time employment with their internship mentor.
Although ‘pump-priming’ support from the Council was limited to the first two years of the project,
the Internship will continue in 2015 thanks to generous financial support from the Mains of Loriston
Charitable Trust, HGCA, AgriScot, the Royal Northern Agricultural Society and Ringlink. The project
will be greatly strengthened by the close involvement of SRUC in 2015.
Image courtesy of Ringlink
Further information can be found at:
10 | Economic Development Annual Review 2014 / 2015
The Support for the Aberdeenshire Business (SAB), scheme aims to strengthen Aberdeenshire’s
economy and encourage the expansion and development of local businesses as well as encourage
businesses to move into the area and create jobs.
The scheme places importance on businesses selling outwith the area and the ultimate goal is to
secure and expand the employment base and the economy of Aberdeenshire. SAB offers practical
business advice and discretionary financial assistance, in the form of loans and grants, to both new
and existing businesses throughout Aberdeenshire. The business support staff can also advise
businesses of support offered by other agencies.
Most of the businesses assisted in 2014/15 were in the food and drink and tourism sectors. The two
case studies demonstrate the range, type and size of business that can benefit from the SAB scheme.
MJ French Fish Export Ltd
In October 2014 MJ French Fish of Fraserburgh, a young modern fish
processor, received support from the SAB scheme to help them fund the
marketing of their new brand, Jack Taylor. The assistance, for attendance
at a trade show and marketing material, has helped them to increase
their presence in the French markets, increase retail sales and in turn
increase their workforce. The company has also used social media and
the internet to reach new customers.
Bickiepegs is a manufacturer of nursery health products for infants. It owns 2 brands, both of
which have a long history; Bickiepegs, a natural teething biscuit which is baked on the premises
in Blackburn and Doidy Cup, which was developed in the
1950’s, and is an open cup scientifically designed to train
children to drink from an open cup rather than a spouted cup
or bottle. The SAB assistance was granted to the new owners
to help them relaunch the products by creating an up to date
website, designing new marketing material and installing a new
quality management system. The product is already in some of
the major supermarket chains and the directors intend to gain
new outlets. At the moment the business exports about 8% of its turnover to markets in China,
Germany, Poland and South Korea and the SAB assistance is helping to increase this part of the
In 2014/15 the SAB Scheme helped 35 businesses to create 55 jobs and safeguard 24 jobs.
Further information can be found at:
Economic Development Annual Review 2014 / 2015 | 11
Business Gateway is the first access point for new and growing businesses to benefit from advice and
support. Thousands of businesses and individuals receive support to build a new business or take the
next step in expansion. Research has shown that businesses engaged with Business Gateway have a
significantly better chance of surviving beyond three years than the national average.
The Business Gateway service has an important role in improving the prospects and opportunities
for businesses in this area. A range of professional support, resources, tools and grants allow key
personnel to develop new skills, create new opportunities and develop sustainable strategies for
growth. The portfolio of growing businesses engaging with local Business Advisers is one of the
strongest in the country reflecting a local economy that has a flexible and highly skilled workforce.
Aberdeenshire is dependent upon the vibrancy of the businesses that provide us all with
employment, goods and services. Aberdeenshire Council will continue to support its business
community through the successful delivery of the Business Gateway service.
üü 300 free workshops delivered to improve business skills.
üü Record numbers of new businesses started.
üü Access to specialist consultants.
üü 115 companies focus on high growth with their business advisor.
üü Average growth companies employ 12 people and turnover in excess of £2.8M.
üü 184 days of digital support.
üü Over 1,000 students learn how to start a business.
“Business Gateway’s seminars were hugely
informative and great fun too. I have also had
fantastic support from my business advisers”
Claire Page, Deeside Classic Campers
Further information can be found at:
12 | Economic Development Annual Review 2014 / 2015
Community Economic Development
Community Economic Development (CED), helps release the enterprise potential within
Practical support is given to existing and emerging social enterprises, development trusts and
community organisations. Advice is given on project development, funding, organisational
development and sustainability.
Aberdeenshire Council works with Rural Partnerships that provide practical support to communities
throughout the six administrative areas of Aberdeenshire.
Community Benefit Guidance for Large Scale Community Energy Projects
A Community Benefit is a voluntary contribution from a developer of a large scale renewable
energy project to a community which is being negatively impacted by that development.
Although there is not an obligation on any developer to contribute to a fund, it is deemed good
practice. The CED team drew up a Guidance for communities that were being impacted by these
developments – usually wind farms – and circulated it to community groups and agencies in
The Guidance encouraged early engagement on both sides, suggested a minimum financial
contribution to the communities per installed Megawatt and gave suggestions on how to take
forward negotiations. The Guidance included a toolkit which gave contact details of the Rural
Partnerships and a link to Community Councils throughout Aberdeenshire.
To draw up the guidance, consultations took place with a wide range of stakeholders including
Council Planning and Legal Services, the Rural Partnerships and Local Energy Scotland. The
Guidance is available on the Council’s website and as print copies in libraries.
Rural Partnerships in Aberdeenshire
The Rural Partnerships in Aberdeenshire are a strong
network of community organisations that support
their local communities to facilitate the development
of community economic projects. Over the past 12
months CED officers have been working closely with
communities in the Kincardine and Mearns area to
grow and develop the emerging Kincardineshire
Development Partnership (KDP). The KDP committee
has been engaging with local communities by hosting
engagement events, organising drop in sessions in
local libraries and visiting community and voluntary
groups locally. As a new rural Partnership, KDP is
working with local agencies and partners to increase
their exposure to local communities and learn more
about community needs.
Howe of the Mearns
Further information can be found at:
Economic Development Annual Review 2014 / 2015 | 13
“In May 2014 Boyndie Visitor Centre celebrated ten very successful years
trading, although it was as far back as 1999 when Boyndie Trust was formed,
and began planning the venture with the help of the Economic Development
team at Aberdeenshire Council.
In 2005, sister charity The Banffshire Partnership moved into office space at
the Visitor Centre, and collectively, the two organisations now employ 35
paid staff from the Boyndie site, making one of Aberdeenshire’s largest Social
Boyndie Trust, Banffshire Partnership and Economic Development continue
to work together, sharing knowledge and experience, but also mentoring
and encouraging other fledgling organisations. Hardly a month goes by
without some kind of meeting or interaction about a project. It is very much
a mutually beneficial relationship, that has stood the test of time, and the
positive outcomes of job creation and other economic developments, are
easy to quantify.”
Duncan D. Leece
Director - The Banffshire Partnership Ltd
General Manager - The Boyndie Trust Ltd
“Fibre Broadband isn’t only about download speed. Equally
important is the upload speed to permit effective use of cloudbased applications, off-line backup and virtual private network.
Moving to a very-high-bit-rate digital subscriber line 2 (VDSL2), I
saw a 5-fold increase in download speeds (to c76Mbit) with nearly
a 20-fold increase in upload speeds (to c18Mbit). As a developer
of bespoke web / cloud applications, it is difficult to exaggerate
how significant this has been for my business. It has been very
encouraging that Aberdeenshire Council has been both financially
committed and progressive in its ambition to achieve better digital
connectivity for the area.”
14 | Economic Development Annual Review 2014 / 2015
The first publicly funded fibre enabled street cabinet in Scotland was commissioned in Kirkton of
Skene on 14 April 2014.
By the end of March 2015, 112 new street cabinets had been commissioned in Aberdeenshire –
around one eighth of the Scottish total.
The project ranks as one of the largest civil engineering undertakings in Scotland – in money terms,
behind the new Forth Road Bridge and the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Road but in complexity,
much more challenging.
European funding to support the programme is dependent on minimum levels of uptake of
fibre services within three years of the infrastructure being commissioned so in parallel with
cabinets going live, awareness raising and demand stimulation events are being held throughout
Aberdeenshire, with a focus on those areas where uptake is low – overall, Aberdeenshire has the
highest rates of uptake of new fibre services (26%), at the time this article was written – evidence of
previously unsatisfied demand.
At the end of March 2015, around 60,000 additional Aberdeenshire residents had access to fibre
enabled broadband compared to twelve months previously and around that time, the programme
moved from upgrading those subscribers served by street cabinets to those who have Exchange
Only Lines. This category of customer is more expensive to upgrade and new methodologies are
being developed which could cost effectively extend the reach of fibre to additional premises
compared to numbers projected at the start of the contract.
Some of Fraserburgh’s lifeboat crew were on hand to launch a street cabinet in the town.
Economic Development Annual Review 2014 / 2015 | 15
Energetica – Scotland’s Energy Corridor
Energetica’s aim is to make the region the location of choice for high value oil and gas and renewable
energy organisations, and a first choice for organisations of all sizes operating in other high value,
quality niche markets.
The revised Energetica Strategic Development Framework was agreed by the Energetica Steering
Group in May 2014 and set out the following strategic objectives for Energetica:
1. To consolidate and grow the Region’s position as one of the world’s major energy centres and the
energy capital of Europe;
2. To attract new high value investment and people to the region;
3. To grow the international trade of indigenous business; and
4. To create a location that seeks to maximise both quality of design/development and quality of life.
Key progress and developments include:
• Sites have been established for Energetica signage and pre-application discussions are taking
place with key consultees prior to submission of applications for advertising consent.
• The second Energetica Walking & Wildlife Festival was held 24-25 May 2014 and built on the
success of the first one with a choice of 20 events designed to promote the high quality lifestyle
offered within the Corridor. The Energetica Walking & Wildlife Guide was launched in May 2014.
• The team has increased Energetica’s profile having articles printed in publications including the
Press and Journal, Commercial Property Monthly & Scottish Planner.
• In December 2014, Nestrans published an Active Travel Action Plan identifying key opportunities
for increasing walking and cycling, including the Energetica Active Travel Corridor. These are
being progressed as part of a £1million funding package.
Energetica managers have engaged with
Skills Development International (SDI) to
raise awareness of:
• Investment support availability.
• Promote Energetica and North-east
Scotland lifestyle to the Canadian Oil &
• Ensure representation at Offshore
Technology Conference in Houston and
Offshore Northern Seas in Stavanger.
Further information can be found at:
Offshore Northern Seas 2014
16 | Economic Development Annual Review 2014 / 2015
Aberdeenshire is home to a number of the country’s vital energy assets, including St Fergus Gas
Terminal which processes around 15% of the UK’s natural gas requirements, Peterhead Power Station
which plans to develop the world’s first post combustion carbon capture and storage facility on a
gas turbine, Peterhead Port which is the North-east’s leading deep sea harbour and Westhill which is
recognised as the global centre in subsea engineering excellence.
The energy sector remains a vital component of the Aberdeenshire economy, despite the impact
global events have had on oil prices. Only 14 exploration wells were drilled in 2014, the lowest
number since the industry began and this may impact on production levels in coming years. Due to
its maturity and operating costs and the drop in price of oil, the United Kingdom Continental Shelf
is experiencing significant challenges. However positive steps are being taken to boost industry
prospects, including setting up the Oil and Gas Authority, an independent regulatory body whose
aim is “to be a catalyst for change and a facilitator of action, driving performance and removing
unnecessary barriers to help protect the current production base and secure a positive future for the
UK oil and gas industry”.
Work continues to support Fraserburgh Harbour Commissioners’ offshore wind operations and
maintenance ambitions as well as a number of nationally significant energy developments which
will benefit the Aberdeenshire economy including: Shell’s Carbon Capture and Storage plans at
Peterhead Power Station, Statoil’s Hywind project to build the world’s largest floating wind farm off
Peterhead, the onshore substation and associated infrastructure at New Deer for Moray Offshore
Renewables and at Peterhead for North Connect.
Aberdeenshire Council was part of the Scottish delegation which exhibited at the Offshore
Technology Conference in Houston, and Offshore Northern Seas in Stavanger. Aberdeenshire Council
staff organised the Aberdeen City and Shire Pavilion during the latter event.
The pavilion provided an opportunity for exhibiting companies to network with new and existing
clients in addition to showcasing food, drink and entertainment from Aberdeenshire. Exhibition
space was also taken at Subsea Expo, Europe’s largest subsea exhibition.
Aberdeenshire Council continues to work closely with United Kingdom Trade and Investment,
Scottish Development International and the North East of Scotland Trade Group, to ensure the profile
of the area’s companies in overseas markets remains high.
Newtonhill Pipe Band bring a bit of
Aberdeenshire to Stavanger
Image courtesy of Bibby Offshore
Economic Development Annual Review 2014 / 2015 | 17
2014 saw the beginning of a new European Union, 7-year funding period, bringing new funding
opportunities to Aberdeenshire’s communities and businesses. Aberdeenshire Council’s Economic
Development Service focused on maximising the potential benefits of newly-available funds through
engagement with the funding programmes’ managing bodies, the preparation of strategic funding
bids and the hosting of the North Sea Conference in June 2014.
The North Sea Conference brought over 500 delegates together from countries bordering the North
Sea to develop joint co-operation projects and share knowledge and experience. The event, which
acts as the main annual event of the EU’s INTERREG North Sea Region funding programme and the
North Sea Commission, was hosted by Aberdeenshire Council with support from Aberdeen City
Council. Aberdeenshire projects and businesses were showcased during the event, which was later
presented with an Aberdeen Ambassador award for its contribution to the local economy. Longer
term benefits of the event include the development of partnership projects which may receive
funding from the €167m INTERREG North Sea Region Programme.
Aberdeenshire has been provisionally awarded over £6.1 million to support rural development
projects from 2015 to 2020. The funding will be managed by Local Action Groups (community/
private/public) partnerships, with Aberdeenshire Council’s Economic Development Service providing
staff and support. A further award of European Maritime and Fisheries Funding is anticipated in the
coming months. The majority of funds are to be allocated through competitive grants schemes open
to communities, businesses and other organisations in Aberdeenshire. The programmes are set to be
formally launched in late 2015.
A funding application for European Regional Development Funding to enhance existing Business
Gateway services has also been submitted. If successful, the bid will provide around £0.5m of
additional funding to business support services throughout Aberdeen City and Shire.
From a policy perspective, the Council continues to actively participate in the North Sea Commission,
which brings together local and regional authorities from a number of European countries to
develop joint projects and influence policies. The organisation’s work has included lobbying the
European Commission for the inclusion of areas such as Aberdeenshire on the EU’s priority transport
networks; the need for a North Sea electricity grid; and co-operation on Marine Spatial Planning.
Further information can be found at:
Delegates at The North Sea Conference 2014
18 | Economic Development Annual Review 2014 / 2015
The Film Office, a partnership between Economic Development and Aberdeenshire Council’s Arts &
Heritage Service, promotes 2,434 square miles of the most dramatic, unspoiled and diverse natural
landscape in Europe. Aberdeenshire has the second highest mountain in the British Isles,( Ben
Macdui, 4,295 feet) and 133 miles of coastline ranging from flat sandy beaches to wild, rugged seacliffs and caves.
The area also offers guaranteed natural snow (in season!); gritty urban streetscapes, rolling
agricultural landscapes and two major fishing ports in Peterhead and Fraserburgh.
With complete Georgian villages and factories; Victorian railway stations, town halls and hospitals;
tiny 17th-century harbours; 9,000-plus archaeological sites including some of the country’s
best stone circles and more habitable castles per square mile than any other part of the UK,
Aberdeenshire has a lot to offer visiting and indigenous productions. With the first film being made
in Aberdeenshire back in 1896 we have been part of over 110 years of cinematic history.
2014/15 has been another productive year for the Film Office with a number of key productions
filmed in the area.
• The film production of one of Scotland’s most loved novels - Sunset Song – filmed in
Aberdeenshire in 2014, is scheduled to premiere at the Toronto Film Festival in September and
the year ahead will build on the areas reputation as a welcoming, supportive and attractive film
• Blockbuster, ‘Victor Frankenstein’ cast and crew spent two days at Dunnottar Castle and
subsequent days at Loch Callater in March shooting scenes for this highly anticipated feature
starring James McAvoy, and Daniel Radcliffe. The film is due for cinematic release in October 2015.
• Winterwatch returned for a second year to Mar Lodge & Upper Deeside.
• The BBC Scotland drama for BBC One Scotland and BBC Two – Stonemouth filmed in Macduff and
Banff enabling 60 local people to take part as extras and was screened on national television in
• The American production House Hunters International has also filmed two episodes in the region.
• We have also be able to support a number of productions using local runners, extras and trades
over the year.
Stonemouth sign in darkness with Banff in the background. Image courtesy of Piero Jamieson.
Economic Development Annual Review 2014 / 2015 | 19
A major study of the fish processing sector in NE Scotland was commissioned by Aberdeenshire
Council and Scottish Enterprise in 2014 to help analyse the current status of seafood processing
locally and the emerging challenges and opportunities posed by the new Common Fisheries Policy.
Aberdeen City Council also provided input. The findings were published in early 2015 as a growth
strategy for the local seafood processing sector.
The strategy builds on current and forthcoming developments at Fraserburgh and Peterhead ports
and the anticipated improved logistics following the completion of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral
As well as identifying the industry’s successes and future opportunities, the study also highlights the
challenges being experienced by those working in the sector and how best they might be addressed.
In advance of the launch of the new European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, it provides a basis for
discussion of future levels of both national and European support for a coherent sectoral growth
strategy involving capital investment, business improvement, upskilling and market development.
Over 75% of the fish/shellfish processing businesses based in the area were interviewed as part of
the study, as well as two producer organisations, the three main harbour authorities, the two local
authorities and the main seafood industry support agencies.
The survey provides key information on what processors consider the critical issues for their
businesses, the principal constraints to growth and the main opportunities for expansion and
development in the future.
It also includes assessments of the efficiency and effectiveness of the fish/shellfish supply chains in
the area and of the impact of future changes in fisheries legislation.
The study can be viewed at
Launch of seafood processing study
20 | Economic Development Annual Review 2014 / 2015
Food & Drink
The Grampian Food Forum continues to foster a culture of innovation, learning and collaboration for
those involved in food and drink production in the North-east of Scotland, assisting companies to
meet the challenges and capitalise on the opportunities that the industry faces.
The food and drink industry and the public sector continue to work in partnership to deliver or
participate in a variety of activities including the annual Innovation Awards, the one-day food
and drink festival Taste of Grampian and the Dining Club that is open to businesses from across
Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen and Moray.
The Dining Club provides a networking opportunity for chefs, hoteliers and restaurateurs to come
together with local food and drink producers, to build relationships and explore opportunities to
work more closely together with the aim of increasing the use of local produce in menus in the
region’s eating establishments.
In September 2014, Councillor Jill Webster headed a delegation to the Stavanger region. This
learning journey involved visits to a cheese producer, meat plant and a pepper and tomato grower as
well as presentations from a further four producers and a workshop at the Måltidets Hus – the Centre
of Industrial Gastronomy, which brings together some of the most skilled people and strongest
expertise in the business of food and dining in Norway.
At the start of Scotland’s Year of Food & Drink 2015, the Innovation Awards celebrated 25 years of
innovation from food and drink producers. 33 businesses entered 85 new products into the Awards
proving once again that the North-east is at the forefront of developing some truly unique and
sustainable food and drink businesses.
Here are some of the highlights
• A total of 75% of exhibitors at Taste of Grampian reported sales “as anticipated” or “higher than
• 80% of exhibitors expected to see an impact on their sales
after Taste of Grampian
• 14 delegates from 8 businesses participated in the delegation
Further information can be
• 7 businesses entered the Innovation Awards for the first time
• Over 230 guests from 78 different organisations attended the Innovation Awards Presentation
Dinner in March
• 73% of those who attended the Dining Club stated they had met a potential new customer and
40% stated they had met a potential new collaborative partner
Innovation Award Winners 2015
Dining Club Networking
Economic Development Annual Review 2014 / 2015 | 21
The Rural Aberdeenshire LEADER programme has been formally closed, having provided over
£4 million of funding from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and Scottish
Government to around 150 projects from 2008 to 2014. The funds supported a wide range of
projects including improvements to community facilities such as village halls and play parks, events
and festivals, feasibility studies, wildlife, broadband and community food initiatives.
A full list of the projects supported can be found at:
Interest in the next LEADER programme has been growing, with new Local Action Groups (LAGs)
having been established to deliver over £6 million of funding in Aberdeenshire from 2015 to 2020.
LAG partnerships will bring together community, private and public stakeholders and be supported
by Aberdeenshire Council who will provide staff and other resources to support the initiative.
The North Aberdeenshire Local Action Group (NALAG) will cover the Banff and Buchan, Buchan and
Formartine areas of Aberdeenshire and be chaired by Duncan Leece of the Banffshire Partnership,
with John Loder (Formartine Partnership) and Chris White (Aberdeenshire Council) acting as Vice
The South Aberdeenshire Local Action Group (SALAG) will cover the Garioch, Kincardine and Mearns
and Marr areas of Aberdeenshire, with the exception of the Cairngorms National Park which will
be covered by a dedicated Cairngorms LEADER programme. The South Aberdeenshire LAG will be
chaired by Liam Smyth of Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce, with Jean Henretty (Marr
Rural Partnership) and Belinda Miller (Aberdeenshire Council) as Vice Chairs.
Funds will be targeted at implementing Local Development Strategies which were finalised during
2014/15. These will see changes in the activities eligible for support, as well as the extension of the
programme to communities with populations larger than 5,000 people (provided that projects have
a benefit for the wider rural area) and dedicated funds for farm diversification and rural business
The new funding programmes are not yet ‘live’, but are expected to be launched in late 2015.
Futher information can be found at:
The LEADER Programme was promoted at Turriff
Show and other events during the year.
22 | Economic Development Annual Review 2014 / 2015
Regeneration and Town Centres
The main focus of Aberdeenshire Council’s Regeneration effort continues to be in Fraserburgh where
the long-term commitment is aimed at making major physical, social and economic improvements.
Over 80 projects across nine Themes in the Fraserburgh Action Plan now come under the banner of
‘Fraserburgh 2021’ the date by which we expect to have completed the longest projects.
While the Council is taking the lead role of funding and coordinating projects some of the original
and best ideas are coming from within the community. Fraserburgh Super Saturdays, a community
market held in the town centre 10 times a year, is an obvious example. It came within a whisker of
winning a top regeneration award and is now regarded by the Scottish Government and others
as an example of Best Practice. Retail Plus, a scheme aimed at supporting the retail businesses of
Fraserburgh, was proposed by the local business association. Up to 15 businesses were expected to
apply but it proved to be so poular that almost 50 did. As a result, Aberdeenshire Council increased
funding from £78,000 to £171,000 and the format, consisting of expert advice followed by business
improvement grants to implement the advice, is being rolled out to other towns.
From a base budget of around £400,000 a year, the Regeneration team is working to add to that from
a range of sources including grants from the Scottish Government, Historic Scotland and National
Lottery funds. Over the course of the programme the aim is to attract and invest a minimum of £15
million in a wide range of areas such as built heritage, new sports facilities, assistance to business
and industry as well as helping the most disadvantaged. £1.5m was secured towards new housing at
Barrasgate Road and Quarry Road and the aim is that for every £1 Aberdeenshire Council invests we
look to other sources to contribute another £2 to £3.
One of the biggest projects of Fraserburgh 2021 will be the renewal of the former Council Chambers
at Saltoun Square. The intention is to join the existing building to the former Police Station on Kirk
Brae to create a building that has a range of civic uses and is fit for the next 100 years.
Within the 4 towns programme (Banff, Macduff, Fraserburgh and Peterhead), significant work has
started to boost the resilience of the retail sector – almost 100 businesses have now been supported
with specialist consultancy through the Retail Plus programme. The profile of Peterhead has been
raised through the creation and distribution of an investment prospectus, and a Heritage Trail has
been developed which tells gory and quirky tales which reached the BBC news and Out of Doors
programmes. An event on Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) has led businesses in Peterhead
and Inverurie to start the process of a BID in their towns. In Banff and Macduff, we have been
delighted to work with a new community
group, TURF, to make the site of the former
Highland Haven Hotel more appealing and
stakeholders in the two harbours have been
involved in developing a new master plan
and business plan for the Harbours to take
them forward over the next 10 years.
Further information can be found at:
Renewal of former Council Chambers,
Saltoun Square, Fraserburgh
Economic Development Annual Review 2014 / 2015 | 23
“It has been a very difficult year for the oil and gas industry because of the
collapse in world oil prices, which fell from a peak of US$ 115 a barrel in
2014 to about $50 at the time of writing. That inevitably resulted in many
job losses in Aberdeenshire and elsewhere in Scotland. I expect these
problems to continue for the next few years, unfortunately, because a large
increase in oil prices seems very unlikely.
On a more positive note, the onshore wind farm industry has continued to
expand in Aberdeenshire, with more turbines coming onstream and others
proposed. Statoil also revealed innovative plans for the Hywind floating
wind farm about 25 km offshore Peterhead.
There was a little progress with the plans by Shell and SSE for a carbon
capture and storage (CCS) plant at the Peterhead power station but it now
looks increasingly likely that this project will go ahead in the near future. It
will be very important for both Aberdeenshire and the industry generally.
The news is inevitably dominated by the problems of the oil industry but
there has been very encouraging progress in other parts of the energy
sector, which will become increasingly important over the next few years.“
“Scotland’s Towns Partnership was established in 2014 as the
national support agency for towns.
We are delighted to be working with Aberdeenshire on their small
towns programme and to assist them where we can. Through this
evolving relationship we should be able to bring new ideas, best
practice, toolkits and evidence, media support, training, resources
and partnership input to help Aberdeenshire’s local champions and
communities to improve their network of towns.”
Scotland’s Towns Partnership
24 | Economic Development Annual Review 2014 / 2015
Onshore Wind: Two significant Aberdeenshire wind farms were commissioned in 2014/15 – Midhill
1 (57.5MW) and Clashindarroch (36.9MW). Both will provide significant community benefit payments
to their respective local communities, with Clashindarroch contributing £185,000 annually.
The total capacity of wind energy in Aberdeenshire as at July 2015 was 377MW operational with
59MW in construction and a further 201MW consented. Together these could provide enough
power to enable Aberdeenshire to be self-sufficient in electricity from renewable sources. Proposed
UK Government changes to the Renewables Obligation Certificate (ROC) scheme for onshore wind
mean that it is unlikely that any new wind farms over 5MW will be developed after 2017.
Offshore wind: Both the Moray and Beatrice Offshore wind farms in the Moray Firth were granted
planning consent by Marine Scotland in 2014. Together they will provide nearly 1.8GW of renewable
generation when completed.
The Norwegian Statoil Group has plans to deploy five 6MW floating turbines in the Buchan Deep,
13 miles east of Peterhead. There are also proposals for the Kincardine floating wind project to be
located 8 miles east of Stonehaven. The pilot project will use semi-submersible technology to deploy
8 turbines in water depths up to 80m.
The above projects will create significant supply chain opportunities in construction and longer term
in the operation and maintenance sectors.
Hydro: Environmental constraints and migratory fish issues pose significant barriers to large scale
hydro development in Aberdeenshire. Despite this, after nearly eight years, the Braemar Community
owned Corriemulzie hydro scheme 3 miles west of the town is progressing to the construction phase,
following a successful pilot funding launch. It is hoped to commission the 100kW scheme in summer
Biomass: The biomass industry in Aberdeenshire continues to grow, after a period of consolidation,
with new entrants in both fuel supply and boiler installation. The industry is still being driven by
the RHI (Renewable Heat Incentive), with focus on the domestic and small commercial (sub 200kW)
sector. This may swing to larger boilers with forthcoming changes to RHI tariffs.
Geothermal: The Hill-of-Banchory district heating scheme was one of five projects to receive
funding from the Scottish Government’s Geothermal Challenge
Fund. The fund will provide up to £50k to explore the potential
to provide hot water to the district heating scheme from the
rocks underlying the Hill of Fare.
Should the geothermal development prove technically and
economically viable, there may be scope to explore the
potential in other areas, notably Ballater and Insch.
Solar: The Solar PV sector continues to grow despite falling
Feed-in Tariff rates. Arrays are now common on domestic
and farm buildings with larger arrays now appearing in open
Further information can be found at:
Floating Offshore Wind Turbine array
Economic Development Annual Review 2014 / 2015 | 25
Sustainability and Climate Change
Climate change and resource depletion will have a negative effect on Aberdeenshire’s future
generations if these issues are not urgently addressed. Aberdeenshire Council is working with
residents and businesses to help reduce their impacts on the environment, lower carbon dioxide
emissions and protect our biodiversity.
Aberdeenshire residents are consuming finite resources at a rate three times what the planet can
support - a so called 3 planet lifestyle. This pattern of consumption is unsustainable and needs
to be reversed if we are to address the challenges of climate change without compromising the
quality of life of future generations. Aberdeenshire Council’s Environmental Policy aims to reduce
the environmental impacts of its own operations and assist residents, contractors and businesses
operate and live in a way which reduces dependence on the use of finite resources, reduces
greenhouse gas emissions and addresses the wider challenges and effects of climate change
including the need to change behaviour at both a personal and corporate level.
The Council has been working with Edinburgh based Climate X Change on a Scottish Government
approved pilot looking into the economics of climate risks. This original research is exploring
alternative techniques to traditional cost benefit analysis to support climate change adaptation
In November 2014, Aberdeenshire Council made its 6th and final annual submission to the Scottish
Government under the Climate Change Declaration before required reporting is introduced in
2015/16.This reporting exercise collates what the Council has done over the previous year on climate
change mitigation, adaptation and resilience and other aspects of sustainable development.
Aberdeenshire Council has played a central role in a review of the North East Scotland Climate
Change Partnership. This involved consultation, surveys, workshops and preparations for relaunching this important partnership with an enhanced role and remit.
Together with the NHS (Health Improvement Officer), Aberdeenshire Council has been developing
an easy to use but effective screening tool and guidance to help inform decision making. The tool
is aligned to the duties contained
in the Climate Change (Scotland)
Act and local priorities to address
Earth seen from a distance of one
million miles. Image courtesy of NASA.
26 | Economic Development Annual Review 2014 / 2015
2014 was designated Scotland’s second Year of Home Coming and linked to high profile events,
including the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup taking place in Scotland that year.
Aberdeenshire Council provided financial support for a range of special events aimed at increasing
visitor numbers to the area. These ranged from a major Ancestral Tourism Festival at Haddo House to
the Aboyne Highland Games and a Tea Festival in Laurencekirk.
During 2014/15, Aberdeenshire Council worked with VisitScotland and key partners to re-launch
Scotland’s Castle Trail in a revised format. A new Aberdeenshire Coastal Trail leaflet, was developed,
building on the established brown and white Coastal Trail road signs, in order to promote some of
the attractions and beauty spots along Aberdeenshire’s coastline.
The Council’s Economic Development and Archaeology teams worked together to develop revised
Stone Circle Trail and Pictish Stone Trails for the area. These guides highlight 10 of the best examples
of stone circles and Pictish decorated symbol stones, many of which are unique to the north east.
With the aim of offering visitors an Aberdeenshire malt whisky guide, the Council worked with local
distilleries to develop the ‘Secret Malts of Aberdeenshire’. This features the eight distilleries located
in Aberdeenshire and details of tours at those distilleries open to the public. The booklet has proved
very popular, particularly with overseas visitors and plans are in hand to produce the guide in other
Several of these initiatives received support from the European Regional Development Fund
programme for Rural Tourism, with the aim of encouraging visitors to stay longer and improve visitor
spend in some of the less well established areas for tourism in Aberdeenshire.
Aberdeenshire Council worked with VisitAberdeen to facilitate a Visit Aberdeen & Aberdeenshire
stand at Scotland’s main travel trade event, VisitScotland Expo in Glasgow. Twelve local businesses
exhibited at this event, including seven from Aberdeenshire, with the aim of showcasing the tourism
offering of Aberdeen City and Shire.
Aberdeenshire Council continues to provide funding to VisitScotland to undertake direct and indirect
marketing to Scottish, UK and International markets and to operate the nine Visitor Information
Centres in Aberdeenshire.
Aberdeenshire Council information guides
Economic Development Annual Review 2014 / 2015 | 27
“The food industry in the Stavanger region is of great domestic importance
and Greater Stavanger Economic development works with the food
producers and industry to strengthen the food processing industry and
further develop the potential of local food specialties. In our work to raise
the profile of the food region with own events and by marking our presence
at major national events, we have had valuable experience sharing with
the Grampian Food Forum and Aberdeenshire. Their expertise and long
experience in this field has been of great value to us. Aberdeen and the
Stavanger region have worked closely together for years as energy cities,
but we see that also within the food sector we can benefit from a close
partnership in the future.”
May Endresen, Opportunity Manager
Greater Stavanger Economic Partnership
“Aberdeen City & Shire’s unique tourism offering is hugely valuable to
the region – both economically and culturally - and brings a multitude of
benefits to the wider economy. With its coastal villages, castle trail and
whisky distilleries, it is a region which draws visitors from our core markets
of Germany and Scandinavia, as well as closer to home.
“2014 was a major year for the country, with the Glasgow Commonwealth
Games, The Ryder Cup and Homecoming Scotland all helping position us
on the global stage. A number of large Homecoming 2014 events were
held in Aberdeen City & Shire, including the Sound Festival 2014, Race the
Castles Orienteering Tour, the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival and the
Aboyne Highland Games, all of which helped ensure the second year of
Homecoming extended the benefits brought to Scotland.
“Another highlight locally was the staging of the Aberdeen Asset
Management Scottish Open at Balgownie Links, Royal Aberdeen. This
confirmed the region as a big player on the national golf scene and
demonstrated that we can successfully host golf events of any scale and
showcase this beautiful region globally.
“Partnership is a key word for us and we continue to work with a number
of partners on projects for 2015/16, including expo and Scotland’s Year of
Food and Drink.
“We have worked closely with Aberdeenshire Council and the Area
Tourism Partnership again this past year, to improve the overall customer
experience of the area – partnerships which are going from strength to
Dr. Michael Cantlay OBE
28 | Economic Development Annual Review 2014 / 2015
Working For Families
The Working for Families team supports and assists clients with multiple barriers to work to reach
employment or training. We offer a 1:1 Key Worker service assisting with Curriculum Vitaes and
online digital skills and organise and develop training courses that meet the needs of local areas.
This work varies and is flexible enough to accommodate sudden changes in the local job market,
such as redundancies or new business set-ups. A wide range of entry level courses is offered such
as Construction Skills Certificate Scheme cards (CSCS), alongside Child Care training and assistance
to give clients a greater chance of success in gaining employment. The team operates throughout
Aberdeenshire, running 9 job clubs and supporting both the Employability and Tackling Poverty
Working for families work includes:
• Developing and operating a successful Digital Job Coach post with Aberdeenshire Voluntary
Action to assist clients (180) with little or no computer literacy skills.
• Running 3 Peer-to-Peer training courses to build local capacity in Peterhead, Fraserburgh and
Banff. (36 attendees)
• Delivering 3 Social Media courses to local businesses in Peterhead, Fraserburgh and Banff.
• Running, in conjunction with JobcentrePlus and The Foyer, several successful CSCS courses for 52
people and 13 Security Industry Courses (SIA) for 150 people.
• Delivering First Aid and Manual Handling courses throughout Aberdeenshire.
• Developing a series of byte-sized Introduction to Computer courses in partnership with Libraries.
• Ensuring Community Benefit Clauses around employability are monitored and sustainable in
procurement bids, especially around major works.
• Added an additional JOB CLUB to our portfolio and now run 9 Job Clubs throughout
Aberdeenshire, with a tenth in training in the Marr area.
• All clubs incorporate partner assistance as standard and feature the team’s new full-time Digital
• Working for Families continues to run local courses on an as and when required basis responding
to immediate need. We also continue to run a 1:1 Keyworker service.
• Employability Co-ordinator
attending meetings of SLAED on
behalf of Aberdeenshire Council,
ensuring our participation
• Procuring a new Employability
Management Information System
to further assist the collation of
data around employability in
• Bringing together Aberdeenshire
Council departments involved
in employability to ensure One
Service, One Council by avoiding
duplication and maximising
effective use of resources.
Economic Development Annual Review 2014 / 2015 | 29
The year 2014/15 should be seen as a year of change, challenge and some significant success. These
themes will continue through 2015 and into 2016. Development and investment continue but at a
slowing rate. The numbers of Planning Applications submitted in Aberdeenshire remains the highest
in Scotland, which indicates confidence in funding, whilst at the same time private sector business
investment is more variable and circumspect. The opportunities offered by North-east Scotland
remain substantial, second only to the City of London in terms of investment levels and land
The price of oil fell below $100 per barrel in September 2014 and does not appear to have stabilised,
being just below $50 per barrel at the time of writing. There are mixed views on how low the price
will sink but what is generally agreed is that $100 oil is some years away. The carbon based economy
will continue to evolve and respond - there will be capital investment, more collaboration and
some casualties along the way - optimism for some and heartache for others - against a projected
backdrop of increased oil production in the North Sea, the first for some years.
Whilst the whole economy of the North east of Scotland is affected by the oil and gas industry
downturn, food and drink and tourism remain strong areas of opportunity. Confidence in these
market areas will strengthen the region’s profile at a time of scrutiny and focus from both UK and
Scottish Governments as the City Region Deal discussions continue.
High speed broadband rollout across Aberdeenshire will continue through to the end of 2016,
with a fibre enabled target of circa 92% of all premises able to access 24Mbps download speeds.
For those where there is no short term prospect of fibre provision, alternative means of accessing
broadband are being offered - satellite, or potentially some new emerging technologies, so the
digital connectivity story for Aberdeenshire is very strong.
Aberdeenshire Council has committed £16m to broadband - the highest amount of any local
authority in the UK and the benefits for communities and business will be significant.
Finally, it should be noted that 2016 is the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design. This dovetails
with City Region Deal discussions, with innovation very much at the heart of those deliberations.
Energetica in East Aberdeenshire represents an opportunity to combine new research and
development investment alongside the highest levels of sustainable design.
Energetica needs a catalyst to achieve the next phase of positive outcomes and the evolving
economy and ongoing engagement at all levels of Government point to accelerating success and
measureable outcomes. Challenging times ahead, to be sure, but Aberdeenshire and North-east
Scotland are in the best position to draw down and maximise on the available opportunities.
Director of Infrastructure Services
30 | Economic Development Annual Review 2014 / 2015
PA to Head of Service
Ann Shand / Violet Li
Director of Infrastructure Services
Head of Economic Development
Sarah Cardno 01224 664263
Abbie Smith 01224 664711
Valerie Webster 01224 664727
Business & Communities
Economic Development Annual Review 2014 / 2015 | 31
Business Support Officer
Business Gateway Manager
Team Manager (European
)Policies & Programmes
Regeneration and Town
Strategic Town Centres
Project Officer Town Centres
David John McRobbie
Programmes Claim Officer
Alistair C. Reid
Sustainability & Climate
Industry Support Executive
)Food and Drink(
Industry Support Executive
(Rural & Maritime)
Fisheries Project Officer
Industry Support Executive
Marketing & Events Officer
Figure E.2: Four priorities, Scotland’s Economic
Strategy, The Scottish Government, March 2015.
Produced by Aberdeenshire Council August 2015 GDT 23567