Wind farm jobs

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Our company, Burntisland Fabrications Ltd, as a tier one supplier, has a clear interest in the successful development of Scotland’s offshore wind ­sector.

We need to make long-term investments that in turn will allow us the opportunity to reduce costs and remain ­competitive, based on a strong pipeline of projects like the four planned for the Forth and Tay estuaries.

The decision of the Court of Session last week to overturn the planning consent for these projects is particularly disappointing. We have invested in Scotland in good faith, taking the Scottish Government at its word that they had the capacity and appetite to deliver large-scale offshore renewables. It is for these reason that BiFab has invested in apprenticeship training schemes and facilities, securing the skills base for the next ten to 20 years.

As key members of the local supply chain for projects of this type, we have done our part in creating a strong supply chain that can meet clients’ demands at a time when the oil and gas sector is struggling. Offshore projects like these are vitally important to the Scottish fabrication industry and to UK steel suppliers like Tata.

I hope the Scottish Government will clearly set out how they will prioritise these projects, and do whatever is necessary to address the issues raised by the Court of Session. Investment in Scotland’s renewables supply chain, and the jobs it will create, cannot wait forever. These projects must be delivered.

John G Robertson

Managing director, Burntisland Fabrications Ltd

Mental health

It is alarming to see such a dramatic increase in the number of young people under 21 years of age being prescribed anti-depressants in Scotland (Your report, 26 July). Diagnosis of a mental health problem should not be the only mechanism to trigger support, but it is often only then when interventions take place.

A renewed focus on early intervention and preventative measures is required urgently if we are to nip potential problems in the bud and make a positive impact on the self-esteem, resilience, emotional and mental well-being of our young people.

We welcome the fact that the Scottish Government is taking this matter seriously with the appointment of a new mental health minister, but there is no denying the scale of the problem around children and young people’s mental health. For too long we have focused on treating the symptoms rather than the contributing factors of poor mental health.

We must ensure that we provide well-resourced services, such as talking therapies, to tackle issues such as depression before resorting to the prescription pad.

Faced with an increasing demand in the number of those seeking help, our child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) are overstretched. At a time when many local authority funded services which provide therapeutic community support are facing cutbacks, this means even greater pressure is placed on CAMHS, which will only be able to take on the most severe cases and many more young people in need of help will lose out.

We require a clear mental health strategy focused on prevention and early intervention if we are to help stem the spiralling numbers of young people facing issues with their mental health.

The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition

Tom McGhee, managing director, Spark of Genius; Duncan Dunlop, chief executive, Who Cares? Scotland; Sophie Pilgrim, director, Kindred Scotland; Stuart Jacob, director, Falkland House School; Christine Carlin, chief executive, Mindroom; Niall Kelly, managing director, Young Foundations; Liz May, national co-ordinator, Action for Sick Children Scotland

Confidence boost

I write in response to the article by Graeme Atha entitled “Gender equality focus at marketing festival” (Friends of The Scotsman, 20 July).

I am very pleased to see that the Marketing Society of Scotland is to debate gender equality in business at the Amplify Marketing Festival on 27 August. It’s no secret that women dominate the marketing arena, yet too few achieve their full potential.

Lack of confidence has been at the heart of every challenge I have seen in corporate life. The good news is that confidence is a learnable skill and the Marketing Society has the opportunity to showcase practical and transforming solutions that really work.

It is interesting to note in my research of 80 CEOs that female leaders rate confidence highly in their list of essential leader attributes, yet it doesn’t even feature on men’s because they already have it in bucketloads.

Sustainable changes will only come from empowering women to create their personal brand – something that is bread and butter to marketing professionals – through increased confidence. It is only then can we work to develop women’s ability to identify big picture opportunities and to seek advancement.

It is this clarity of process, combined with proven psychological strategies and skills which deliver success; debate alone cannot change generations of unconscious gender bias.

Ros Taylor

Corporate & leadership coach, Grosvenor Crescent, Edinburgh

A balanced centre

It was such a treat to read Euan McColm’s measured and thoughtful article (Perspective, 26 July).

I sincerely hope that many of your readers will give consideration to exploring More United, and possibly even sign up. The UK is not in a good place politically, and the more the electorate engage with decent centrist policies the better.

EP Carruthers

New Cut Rigg, Edinburgh

Border problems

In her visit to Belfast the Prime Minister said that “nobody wants to return to the borders of the past”, with the reintroduction of border controls between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

It is, however, difficult to see how this situation can be asserted, given that on Brexit Northern Ireland would be the only part of the UK with a land border with another EU state.

The Leave campaign and those voting for Brexit were to an extent doing so largely on the basis that immigration from the EU would face greater controls. It is therefore hard to see that the free movement of EU nationals can possibly continue, as this would see EU nationals coming into the Republic then on to Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. It is also unlikely the EU would allow an open door policy with a non-EU state.

Reference by Mrs May to a Common Travel Area between the UK and Republic of Ireland, dating from 1923, is no longer relevant. Both of these countries joined what was the EEC at the same, ensuring that this area could continue. On Brexit this becomes void.

It is difficult to see how an open border could continue between a UK which is looking to limit immigration from the EU, and a Republic of Ireland which allows for the free movement of EU nationals.

Alex Orr

Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh

A Great solution

Grant Frazer (Letters, 26 July) mentions the UK referring to itself as “Great Britain”. The original use of the term “Great” Britain was to distinguish this island from the smaller Brittany, currently part of the French state.

The peoples of these two “Britains” had been similar in ethnicity, culture and language. I have been in Brittany with Welsh and Cornish people who could understand and be understood using their own languages. There is a tune known in Wales as Captain Morgan’s March and in Brittany as Gwir Vretoned (“True Bretons”) and also known in Cornwall.

There is a historical account of a French army containing Bretons and an English one containing Cornishmen refusing to fight each other when each heard the other side playing “their” tune. Refusing to fight those who share cultural characteristics, or human ones for that matter, seems to me a “great” idea.

David Stevenson

Blacket Place, Edinburgh

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