MORAY MUST ASSUME a higher profile around the UK if it is to solve the recruitment problem that is posing a major threat to schools and hospitals.
That was the main conclusion that emerged from a summit held on Monday to look at what can be done to alleviate the difficulties in recruiting teachers and doctors.
Essential services at Dr Gray’s Hospital are being disrupted not by a lack of funding, but by the difficulty NHS Grampian is having in convincing suitably qualified people to move to the region. The same issue is facing Moray Council who for several years have struggled to fill teaching vacancies – despite a variety of measures to combat the problem.
Moray’s MSP, Richard Lochhead, was behind the summit held at Horizon Forres on Monday, attended by representatives from key public sector agencies including NHS Grampian, Moray Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland and Developing the Young Work Force Moray.
The MSP wanted to hear from the agencies their views on why one of the most attractive regions in Scotland in which to live was having such difficulty attracting new people to come and work here.
Mr Lochhead said that work had to be done to make Moray’s case ‘stand out’ with the quality of life and other attributes brought to the fore in publicising posts in the region. He said: “What we have to do is work out how that can be part of a strategy to attract fresh talent here. We need to do more to attract skilled professionals.”
A recurring theme in the discussion was that people even in other parts of Scotland would often have no difficulty recognising Speyside thanks to its profile in the whisky industry – but would have great trouble pointing out Moray on a map.
The chief executive of Moray Council, Roddy Burns, admitted that the issue appeared to be how to promote Moray as a place to live and work: “It is a lifestyle choice for people who more here from the central belt – those that do come love it.
“We have found that people further south do not know much about Moray and we think that we can do that better – people know about Speyside, but there is a gap in transferring that to Moray. We are finding that people have never heard of Moray and do not know anything about the region.”
All the organisations attending Monday’s event left vowing to work closer together on recruitment drives. The general manager at Dr Gray’s Hospital, Alasdair Pattinson, said doing so presented new opportunities to address the challenges of recruiting and retaining staff, adding that “Moray is a positive place to live and work – we need to get that message out there.”
Mr Lochhead spoke to Wave Newsbeat with insideMORAY on Friday about the issues facing recruitment of staff at Dr Gray’s – listen to the show again on the link below.