Thursday 23 March at the Environmental Research Institute Centre for Energy and Environment in Thurso, Scotland, 14:00 – 17:30


Aim of seminar

The aim of the seminar is to introduce the work that is being done on the transition of the local labour force in the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters’ (PFOW) Caithness area. The county of Caithness has been reliant on the Dounreay nuclear power complex for employment for the last 5 decades. Even today, the decommissioning processes employs around 1500 people with many more jobs in the local supply chain. With decommissioning set to be complete by around 2030 there are plans for the workforce to transition into the nascent marine energy sector developing in the PFOW area.

The seminar will highlight many of the issues in the area related to the transition and give an overview of lessons learnt. There will also be time to reflect and discuss how these issues are commonplace across the whole REGINA project area and develop best practice models.


The first half of the seminar will consist of a number of presentations related to REGINA issues and the work on transitioning the workforce. There will be speakers from the following organisations:

·         North Highland College – Originally established to provide technical training for those entering the Dounreay nuclear workforce. Now training the next generation of renewable energy engineers and is involved in marine energy research through the Environmental Research Institute. A representative will discuss the history of training the workforce and lessons learnt looking to the future.

·         Dounreay Site Restoration Limited – Robbie Turnbull, an engineer trained at NHC/UHI will discuss his experience and future plans for transitioning from the nuclear industry to the renewables industry and issues related to the REGINA project that might force him into leaving the region.

·         Caithness and North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership – Eann Sinclair, programme manager of CNSRP will discuss the progress that has been made in transitioning the labour force and plans for the future. CNSRP is a partnership of the main public sector agencies / authorities with a remit to address the socio- economic effects of decommissioning at the Dounreay site.

·         Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Caithness and Sutherland – Highlands and Islands Enterprise are the local economic development agency. The office in Caithness and Sutherland has a major focus on offsetting the loss of employment from Dounreay and the development of the marine renewables industry.


World Café Discussions

The second half of the open seminar will utilise the World Café* method of discussion to address issues from the first half of the open seminar. The World Café method is structured to access the collective knowledge of the room. Small groups sit round tables and will discuss the open ended question “how do we prepare for labour market change”. The tables utilise a host who facilitates discussion whilst the other members of the discussion move to different tables, mixing with other participants to develop insight into the theme being discussed. The mixing of the tables allows for exposure to many different experiences and levels of knowledge on the discussion theme and it is hoped that discussion will be useful and there will be many take away points.


For more information and registration please contact Magnus Davidson at UHI (magnus.davidson(at)