The Highland Economy has been well placed to capitalise on the Scottish Government's Growth Sector drive. The success of the sector is in no small part due to the existing diversity of the economy. In recent years we have seen well established sector continue to grow and benefit from greater investment, such as Energy and Tourism, and seen our fledgling sectors rise to prominence on a national level, with the newly established university of the Highlands and Islands and the Life Sciences Investment.
The Government's drive in these sectors has been effective. There are now 22% more enterprises nationally in the seven growth sectors than there were 8 years ago. The largest growth has been in Energy and the Creative Industries, at 236% and 45% respectively. The increased focus has also seen large increases in employment in these sectors, with a 22% increase in the Life Sciences Sector and 17% in Energy. Tourism is amongst the largest employer, with growth still being seen in the sector, highlighting its importance.
With a national increase of 236% in Energy Businesses in the past 8 years, the Highlands strategic position as a base for Oil, Gas and Renewables enables the region to reap the rewards of this high value sector.
Each year, more than 2 million visitors come to the Highlands spending over £600 million, making tourism a key sector of the Highland economy. To support this volume a comprehensive supply chain and skilled workforce are required, both of which are well established in the Highlands.
Scotland exports £13 Billion in Food and drink, almost £4 billion of which is Whisky. The industry in the highlands is renowned not only for its whisky however, with world class seafood, game and meats all coming from the highlands.
Considered nationally as an important growth sector, Scotland's largest cluster of Life Science businesses and research facilities operate in the Highland region. Offering many investment opportunities, this fast paced and vital employment sector is set to contribute greatly to the future of both the region and Scotland.
With forecasts suggesting that Scotland's largest employment growth sector will be Professional and Business services, the Highlands is set to see expansion in the sector.
Identified by the Scottish Government as having substantial growth potential, the creative industries sector is vital to the Highland economy. The term “Creative Industries” is an umbrella term for a number of fast paced and exciting industries.
The University of the Highlands and Islands is Scotland’s newest university, achieving University status in 2011. With 13 Institutions across the Highlands and Islands, varying specialisms are offered and there is a focus on distance learning linked by modern technology. The University has gone from strength to strength since inception.
The Construction industry in the Highlands continues to thrive with major projects taking place across the region