Job offers made to Dounreay nuclear plant staff
Staff at the Dounreay nuclear power complex have been offered the chance of a new job once their work at the site is finished.
About 1,100 Dounreay Site Restoration Limited (DSRL) employees have been made the offer by DSRL's parent company Cavendish Dounreay Partnership.
The nuclear plant near Thurso, in Caithness, is in the process of being decommissioned and closed down.
The new jobs would be with one of Cavendish Dounreay Partnership's firms.
Alternatively, employees have been offered training to place them in the "strongest possible position" to take up a role with a local company.
An interim end state, when the decommissioning work has been completed, is expected to be reached between 2030 and 2033.
Cavendish Dounreay Partnership said there were potential job opportunities locally in the renewable energy sector, and also a planned new spaceport in Sutherland.
Phil Craig, managing director at Cavendish Dounreay Partnership, said: "We recognise that ongoing employment could become a distraction as decommissioning becomes more visible in the years ahead and so we want to act early and ensure our employees have a number of options.
"Everyone will have different aspirations so there cannot be a single solution.
"There are some exciting opportunities on the horizon for the Highlands and beyond.
"We will develop training and support programmes to put individuals in the strongest possible position to move into another local job with one of the growing industries such as space or renewable energy.
"Importantly, there will also be a job offer with one of Dounreay's parent companies for any DSRL staff member who wishes to receive one."
Jamie Stone, Lib Dem MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, said: "The Dounreay workforce has developed skills that are second to none and we should be proud of the work that they are doing to decommission the site.
"It is difficult to know that you are ultimately working your way out of a job and so I welcome early consideration of how these skills can be put to the best possible use in the future."
Gail Ross, SNP MSP for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross, said: "This is a positive announcement, not only for those working at Dounreay today, but for our community looking forward.
"It provides options and reassurance to many of the highly skilled workers who will seek ongoing employment.
"By making an announcement now, everyone has time to work together and understand how this can best benefit staff, the companies involved and our local area."