The long-awaited £100 million Moray Growth Deal will trigger a “major shift” to quality jobs with higher wages, backers hope.
The £100 million deal, signed on Monday, is expected to bring around 3,500 jobs to the area over the next decade, both directly and indirectly.
Both the Scottish and UK Governments have pledged £32.5 million each, while regional partners across the public and third sector are contributing £35.8 million.
What projects are included in the Moray Growth Deal?
Officials have identified various projects they will develop in a bid to boost Moray’s economy.
There are plans to create a cultural space at the heart of Elgin to support economic growth and cultural expansion across the region.
It involves Elgin Town Hall being transformed into a cultural and creative learning and entertainment centre by 2026.
The premises will eventually boast a restaurant, a small cinema space and learning spaces for creative industries.
Related courses will be offered taking full advantage of music and media studios.
The currently empty Grant Lodge will be also refurbished and turned into a high-quality food and drink heritage visitor experience by 2026, attracting 50,000 visitors per year.
Meanwhile, the proposed world-class Moray Aerospace, Advanced Technology and Innovation Campus (MAATIC) will be built near RAF Lossiemouth.
The new £33 million Moray College UHI campus will be used as part of a drive to push a generation of aviation and engineering jobs in the region.
Once complete, the MAATIC will work with both the RAF and private partners to support the new fleet of Poseidon submarine hunters that arrived last October.
Nearby the manufacturing innovation centre for Moray (MICM) will bring world-leading research and development expertise in advanced manufacturing.
The facility will increase productivity, create jobs, attract inward investment and grow the region’s manufacturing outputs.
The deal is also about helping train youngsters for the skills required for these type of jobs.
Stuart Black, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) area manager in Moray, said: “The deal will make a major long-term shift for the region’s economy to higher skilled jobs and higher wages.
“The deal is also about helping train youngsters for the skills required for these type of jobs.
“There are some emerging sectors like aerospace and you have Orbex who employ over 50 people.”
Moray Council’s depute chief executive Rhona Gunn added: “We want to create more high quality and high paid jobs.
“There have been five years of crafting this deal.
“We are confident we have eight strategic projects to help the economy and make it more socially inclusive.
“We have sectors where traditionally there are lower wage levels like food and drink and tourism, that link to seasons.
“However, we also know that these industries are our strengths and underpin our culture quarter.”
Other Moray Growth Deal projects
A new low-carbon bus service with an Uber-style booking system designed to address the gaps in rural transport routes will receive an investment of £4.3m.
Also included is a £4.8 million Stem learning project that aims to embed science and maths in early years education.
A trial will be run at RAF Lossiemouth’s childcare centre.