Celebration marks 20 years of HIE centre in Benbecula

Taigh Cheann a' Locha, (The Data Centre), Lionacleit, Benbecula
Taigh Cheann a' Locha, (The Data Centre), Lionacleit, Benbecula

THIS FRIDAY (22 April) marks the 20th anniversary of the official opening of Taigh Cheann a’ Locha, (The Data Centre), Lionacleit, Benbecula.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) relocated the organisation’s administrative and financial functions to the Outer Hebrides in 2002, which helped to disperse public sector jobs to more rural areas. 

HIE’s chief executive Stuart Black will be in Benbecula this week to mark the occasion and to meet with partner organisations, businesses and community groups in the area.

Stuart said: 

“The success of the Taigh Cheann a’ Locha with its skilled workforce over the years, demonstrates that island communities are great places to locate public sector jobs. It’s an excellent example of how administrative functions can be relocated to more rural parts of the Highlands and Islands, helping to strengthen community resilience and boost population”.

“We are currently exploring ideas for creating more quality jobs across the Outer Hebrides including at our offices here in Benbecula. For example, with more of our staff working on a hybrid basis, there may well be scope to diversify the use of the space for use by other tenants.”

Taigh Cheann a’ Locha was officially opened on 22 April 2002 by former First Minister Jack McConnell, when it employed 19 people to provide administrative and financial support to the entire organisation. 

Since then, it has been the workplace for around 60 people in high quality roles. Four of the original staff are still employed by HIE (3) and Skills Development Scotland (1). Four out of eight people in HIE’s current finance team came through the modern apprenticeship route and were all offered permanent contracts. Staff maternity leave over the years has also seen the arrival of 27 new babies into the community.

There are two vacancies for HIE presently being advertised in the Outer Hebrides – head of enterprise support at Benbecula or Stornoway and senior development manager in Benbecula. Two more vacancies will be coming up soon between the finance and the area teams. 

The latest stories