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Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Press Release

Nigel Scott, Communications Officer - 2000-09-09

Western Isles Scoops Top Euro IT Award
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Press Release

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar

Western Isles Scoops Top Euro IT Award

The Western Isles ICT Advisory Service has taken one of the top European awards in Information Technology for its success in developing teleworking in the islands.

News of the successful award in the Small to Medium Enterprise category of the European Telework Week Awards was announced in Brussels yesterday.

The ICT Advisory Service and its teleworking arm, Work-Global manages a skills register which currently includes profiles on over 550 highly qualified people based in the Western Isles of Scotland. Over 75 people are already involved in delivering added value service to a blue chip client list. The Western Isles has one of the highest numbers of graduates per capita of any part of the UK and are leaders in commercial teleworking contracts. Over the past 5 years more than 150 jobs have been enabled by marketing the skills base within the islands to an international client list.

The Western Isles Information and Communications Technology Advisory Service (WI-ICTAS) was formed in 1994 with assistance from the European Objective 1 Programme. The main participants in WI-ICTAS are the Economic Development agencies - Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Western Isles Enterprise and the Highlands and Islands Partnership (Objective 1).

Mr Donnie Morrison, Manager of the ICT Advisory Service, speaking from Brussels today, said: "This award is excellent news for the Western Isles and shows that teleworking in the Western Isles is at the forefront of IT development in Europe. Hopefully, we will be able to capitalise on this award and attract more business to the islands. Winning this award certainly makes us confident that we are applying the right methodologies and expanding opportunities in the islands. This award confirms the value of the investment from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Western Isles Enterprise and the Objective 1 Programme which has enabled us to take this exciting information age project forward."

Work Global, whose web address is www.work-global.com has embraced the opportunities made possible by new technologies and digital communications to remove the traditional geographic boundaries of the islands and has successfully attracted an Internet Service Provide (Iomart) to base their support operations in the Western Isles.

Mr Norman L Macdonald, Chairman of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar's Land, Property and Technology Committee, said: "This is a great achievement for the Western Isles and one which will be noticed around Europe and further afield. At long last the Western Isles are able to overcome the geographical distances that have traditionally held back some aspects of economic development. I am delighted for the project and wish everyone involved continued success in what they are achieving for the islands."

The Western Isles Project won a substantial majority in all three voting categories; a panel of judges, an Internet vote and an audience vote from the 250 participants at the awards ceremony in Brussels following a presentation at the event by Mr Donnie Morrison.

Western Isles Enterprise chief executive, Donnie Macaulay said: "Investment in telecommunications technology and in the skills of local people have seen this new and emerging sector provide a growing contribution to the economy of the Western Isles, with a clear potential to generate even more business. This award reflects the effort and innovative thinking which the advisory service has applied at ground level, and we can all be proud of their achievement."

Issued by Nigel Scott, Communications Officer.