An organisation founded to champion the economic opportunities across Scotland is celebrating 50 years of having offices in the north.
The Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI) had offices in both Aberdeen and Inverness by 1965.
The move to establish regional operations in the north east and Highlands & Islands areas was in recognition of the unique circumstances faced by both areas and the benefits that could be derived from having permanent presences there.
It was Inverness Provost Alex MacEwan who moved for the creation of the Council in 1931 to bring together the public, private and those aspects which would now be called the social economy sectors to promote development across Scotland.
Sir Alex, a solicitor and the first leader of the Scottish National Party, moved the resolution to create the Scottish National Development Council at the Convention of the Royal Burghs of Scotland in Edinburgh. The Scottish National Development Council amalgamated with the Scottish Council on Industry in 1946, creating the Scottish Council (Development and Industry).
Over that time the organisation has witnessed the birth of the oil and gas industry and Aberdeen becoming a centre of expertise and innovation recognised around the globe.
Across the whole of the north of Scotland, and particularly in the Highlands & Islands, SCDI has also seen the food and drink sector continue to develop and grow, and tourism flourish, as improved road connectivity enabled people to better access the region.
Whilst there have been huge developments over the years, SCDI is targeting increasing opportunities that are opening up with enhanced communication infrastructure and planned improvements to transport arteries, particularly in the inter-city network.
SCDI’s North East Regional Director, Ian Armstrong said: “The north east has seen some major changes over the past half century and with the right support and investment Aberdeen can develop and continue to grow its position as the energy capital of Europe.
“Across the north we are home to some of Scotland’s most iconic brands and scenery, which together play a huge role in selling Scotland to the world and showcase the unique offering we have.
“Over the coming years SCDI will continue to work across the public and private sectors to ensure that the region’s economy is as resilient as possible and one that welcomes new enterprise and supports companies exporting overseas.”
SCDI’s Highlands & Islands Regional Director, Fraser Grieve added: “Over recent years we have seen some major developments that will transform how we live and work in the Highlands & Islands, with the creation of the university and the rollout of broadband to new communities helping to enable more people to study and work here.
“The next 50 years offers huge promise with key pieces of infrastructure due to be delivered that will see more of the geographic barriers faced in the region removed. SCDI will carry on its work of promoting measures to support the economic, social and physical wellbeing of communities in every part of Scotland.”