The Highlands & Islands of Scotland is a beautiful and vibrant region which enjoys a rich history, a healthy economy and provides a strong foundation for business prosperity. Covering an area of over 17,000 square miles the Highlands & Islands occupies more than half of Scotland’s land mass and has a population in excess of 468,000. Economically, the Highlands & Islands is a diverse region. There are a number of booming industries such as Tourism, Food & Drink, Energy, Life Sciences and Space. Although home to some world-famous brands and industry-leading organisations, the vast majority of companies are SMEs with around 21,000 businesses across the region.
The Inner Moray Firth is the most densely populated area of the Highlands & Islands. It is home to around 158,000 people with more than a third living in the Highland Capital of Inverness, the UK’s most northerly city. It is a unique, exciting and dynamic destination where its people experience a relaxed lifestyle in one of the world’s most dramatic and unspoilt natural environments. The population of Inverness increased by almost 20% between 2001 and 2011 and remains one of Europe’s fastest growing cities with a ‘travel to work’ population of over 200,000. It is an important centre for trade and commerce, and a vital transport hub for the whole Highlands & Islands region.
The vision behind the £315m Inverness & Highland City-Region Deal was to position Inverness and the Highlands as a region of digital opportunity. This vision was turned into reality in March 2016 with the signing of the heads of terms agreement between the UK Government, Scottish Government and The Highland Council. This set out the broad areas where Government will commit investment of up to £188m which together with £127m of further investment by the Council and public partners will deliver a step change in digital connectivity, digital healthcare, skills, innovation and infrastructure.
The Highland labour market is extremely diverse and spans a very wide range of employment in relation to its population size. The region also offers a highly skilled and educated workforce with most companies experiencing very low staff turnover. Annual salaries are below the UK average and an employment rate of 78% is higher than the Scottish average with unemployment significantly lower at less than 4%.
The University of the Highlands & Islands (UHI) is the UK’s leading integrated university with over 40,000 students and a curriculum portfolio ranging from further education to post graduate level, in addition to complementary research, consultancy and knowledge exchange activities. Based in the Highlands & Islands of Scotland, this distinctive partnership of 13 colleges and research institutions is locally based but with national and international reach, as part of a regional university structure.
Inverness College is one of UHI’s larger constituent partners and is located at the new £50m Inverness Campus (only 8-miles from IABP) where the new college building was opened in August 2015. The ambitious development is set to become a nationally and internationally significant location for education and research, delivering a high-quality environment for learning, innovation, collaboration and commerce. The Campus will attract leading academics, professionals and students to the city and surrounding area.
The Highland region offers an exceptional environment in which to live and work with spectacular mountains, world famous coastlines, a national park and the vibrant cosmopolitan city of Inverness. Regularly identified as one of the most desirable places to live, Inverness has an eclectic cultural life, a diversity of retail outlets, a rich history and a multiplicity of leisure opportunities. Surrounded by beautiful coastlines, 35-miles of golden sandy beaches and picturesque rolling hills, residents live in an environment that is the envy of anyone who visits the region. It’s the perfect location to enjoy the best of both worlds – city life and outdoor/country living.
Inverness is a gateway to many of Scotland’s major tourism destinations including Culloden Battlefield, Cairngorms National Park and Urquhart Castle which is located on the shores of nearby Loch Ness. Opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts are almost limitless with golf, mountain biking, skiing, climbing, walking, canoeing and fishing available practically all year round. The Visit Inverness and Loch Ness website provides a comprehensive guide to this beautiful part of Scotland and an insight into the rich history and culture of the area.