Located on the East of Scotland, Fife is perfectly placed to benefit from key transport links across Scotland, the UK and beyond. The third largest local authority in Scotland and home to a population of around 370,000, Fife provides one of the most attractive locations in Scotland to live, work, visit and invest.
Airport connections from Edinburgh
Fife has a clear commitment to lifelong learning and to developing further and higher education.
Fife is home to the University of St. Andrews and a further eight universities lie within an hour’s drive. Fife also has excellent further education providers from state-of-the-art schools to outstanding colleges.
Businesses in Fife have ready access to graduate talent across all disciplines and ample opportunities for R&D collaboration with Scotland’s top academic institutions.
Fife has more than 200 schools united in their pursuit of excellence with several Fife schools performing above the national average for exam success.
Fife is home to Scotland’s first university, The University of St Andrews. Its world-class reputation in teaching and research consistently place St Andrews top in Scotland and among the top five in the UK, according to annual league tables produced by The Times, Sunday Times and The Guardian. The University of St Andrews is now firmly acknowledged as a leading multi-faculty alternative to Oxford and Cambridge and attracts students and teachers from around the world. Fife also benefits from its close proximity to the University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier University, Heriot-Watt University, the University of Dundee and Abertay University
|University of St Andrews||4|
|University of Edinburgh||12|
|University of Strathclyde||23|
|Heriot Watt University||34|
|University of Aberdeen||37|
|University of Dundee||49|
|University of Stirling||50|
|Glasgow Caledonian University||88|
|Edinburgh Napier University||97|
|Robert Gordon University||103|
|University of Abertay Dundee||108|
Fife College is one of the largest colleges of higher and further education in Scotland with five main campuses located in Dunfermline, Glenrothes, Kirkcaldy, Leven, and Rosyth. The College offers over 400 courses, from essential skills to graduate degree programmes, in more than 40 difference subject areas, with 93% of Fife College students progressing on to either employment or further studies after completing their courses. Nearly 17,000 students currently study either full-time or part-time at the College with 50% of students aged above 25, and a quarter aged over 40.
The College’s primary focus is skills development and providing learners with the opportunity to build their skills and abilities, supporting close collaboration and seamless pathways between schools, colleges, universities and employers.
Fife College works closely with over 800 employers to develop and deliver training across Fife to a wide range of sectors and their employers across Fife. The recent introduction of the government-funded programmes available to both small and large employers will provide over 390 places across 20 skills frameworks, ensuring the College is well-positioned to support the actions identified within the Mid-Fife Economic Investment Prospectus.
Fife College is currently developing a new state-of-the-art campus at Halbeath in Dunfermline, with similar exciting ambitions to redevelop its Stenton campus in Glenrothes.
The Mid-Fife area of Fife extends from the M90 in the west through to the Firth of Forth coastline in the east and comprises the Cowdenbeath, Kirkcaldy, Glenrothes and Levenmouth local committee areas.
Mid-Fife is well-connected to the M90 via the A92 dual carriageway running east-west through the region and is also well-serviced by the Fife Circle rail network and East Coast Main Line providing onward links to Edinburgh and the south; Dundee, Aberdeen and the north; and Glasgow to the west.
The recent Scottish Government announcement about the reinstatement of the Levenmouth rail link, due for completion by 2023, has provided a major boost to Mid-Fife and is accompanied by further funding from the government and Fife Council to enhance the area’s economic prospects.
Businesses There are almost 10,000 registered businesses in Mid-Fife*, of which around 3,900 are VAT and PAYE-registered**.
Figures for 2019-20 show that 61% of business start-ups supported by the Fife Business Gateway team were located in Mid-Fife; with a total of 319 new businesses creating 430 jobs and a turnover of £8.713m.
Figures for 2019 show that the business start-up rate in Fife was higher than the rate for Scotland; with the 3-year survival rate for business start-ups in Fife (59.2%) also above the Scottish average (56.5%)***.
In 2019/20, Fife had 845 companies registered with the Supplier Development Programme (SDP), 153 (22%) more than the previous year. Each year there are around 120 SDP events; in 2019/20, 77% of businesses attending events were from Mid-Fife.
In terms of inward investment and business growth, Mid-Fife offers a good supply of land zoned for industrial development, including a number of serviced sites, that is available at attractive rates in comparison with competitor locations.
* FAME database of Registered Trading Address and/or Primary Trading Address (2019)
** UK Business Counts 2019
*** Business Demography, UK: 2019, Office for National Statistics
Fife has a long history of being at the leading edge of manufacturing and engineering, with MidFife providing the base for a cluster of major businesses offering expertise in fabrication, agile manufacturing and rapid manufacturing services along with civil, mechanical and electrical engineering specialisms.
Fife Fabrications, based in Glenrothes, is one of the most advanced manufacturers of precision sheet metalwork, electromechanical assemblies, and precision machined components in the UK, offering a complete service from design for manufacture support to manufacturing and full customer delivery.
SipsEco is Scotland’s largest Structural Insulated Panel (SIPs) home manufacturer. It designs, engineers, manufactures and constructs low carbon, energy efficient homes for developers, contractors, local authorities and self-builders, as well as providing energy efficient structures for schools and healthcare facilities across the UK. The company has been based in Glenrothes for over 20 years and was recognised with the award for Best Sips Supplier in the UK in 2020.
Forbo Flooring in Kirkcaldy is the only UK manufacturer of linoleum floor coverings and tiles, with production at the site dating back over 140 years. The environmentally-friendly raw material used in production and its natural ability to inhibit the growth of bacteria has made Forbo Marmoleum a contemporary, sustainable and durable flooring solution for healthcare, education, retail, commercial offices and private rental sectors.
Energy Park Fife
Energy Park Fife in Methil is a world-leading engineering and research zone servicing the energy and renewables sector. The location encompasses a 55-hectare engineering site ideally suited for a range of marine energy activities, including manufacturing, fabrication and engineering, research & development and operations & maintenance. The park is also home to the Hydrogen Office, the ORE Catapult Wind Turbine research facility (the world’s most advanced, open access, offshore wind turbine) along with one of the UK’s most advanced decommissioning facilities. CessCon Decom has recently secured the largest oil and gas decommissioning contract in Scotland to date, which will involve processing over 23,000 tonnes of material from Spirit Energy’s Morecambe Bay DP3 and DP4 facilities in the East Irish Sea at the Energy Park Fife Decommissioning Facility. In another positive development for the area, the former BiFab fabrication site in Methil has been acquired by London-based InfraStrata to operate under the Harland & Wolff brand name.
Tourism accounts for around 5% of employment within the Mid-Fife region and a new ‘Heartlands of Fife’ brand aligned to the overall Welcome to Fife branding aims to further improve awareness of Mid-Fife as a destination for tourism and active leisure.
Fife is known worldwide as the Home of Golf, with Mid-Fife offering a choice of 20 courses, all within easy reach of the iconic Old Course at St Andrews.
The hugely popular 183km Fife Coastal Path long-distance walking route has been joined by the new 104km Fife Pilgrim’s Way, both of which have significant stretches through Mid-Fife.
The area is home to Scotland’s first augmented reality trail, the award-winning In The Footsteps of Kings, and Lochore Meadows Country Park offers over 1,200 acres to explore, with a beautiful loch, upgraded visitor centre and wide range of leisure and recreational activities.
Fife has over 300 miles of cycleways across the Kingdom and the Fife Cycle Park at Lochgelly, opened in 2018, is the first of its kind in Scotland. The region also has a number of attractive parks, including Beveridge Park and Ravenscraig Park in Kirkcaldy and Silverburn Park in Leven.
Investment in key town centres saw Lochgelly recognised as ‘Scotland’s Most Improved Town’ at the 2016 Scotland’s Urban Regeneration Forum (SURF) Awards in recognition of a series of ambitious and collaborative initiatives to enhance its physical appearance, pride of place, and reputation.
Similar improvements in Cowdenbeath resulted in it being shortlisted in the Rising Star category of the Great British High Street Awards 2019.
In Kirkcaldy, the second phase of improvements to the Waterfront aim to further improve public space and connections with the High Street, while gap site developments and associated incentives aim to increase town centre living.
A new Glenrothes town centre masterplan has recently been approved by the Council which focusses on key development sites and improved green corridor links with Riverside Park.
These initiatives demonstrate Fife’s ongoing commitment to investment in, and re-purposing of, key town centres within Mid-Fife.
The announcement of the £70m Levenmouth rail link reinstatement by the Scottish Government in August 2019 has provided a major boost for the area. Preparatory work is already underway on site ahead of major construction working commencing in 2022 with anticipated completion in 2023.
In addition to the rail link investment itself, a further £10m has been jointly committed by the Scottish Government and Fife Council to support the development of a Levenmouth Reconnected blueprint that aims to maximise the economic impact of the rail link for the wider area.
Sitting alongside this work is another unique opportunity for the area. The Leven Programme was established in 2018 and is a regeneration initiative that firmly puts the environment and people at its heart. The programme brings together government agencies, non-government organisations, private sector businesses and local communities who want to breathe life back into the River Leven and improve the areas surrounding it, making them great places to live, work and visit.
It is anticipated that the Leven Programme will take around 10 years to deliver via a series of smaller individual projects. Reconnecting people and place is a key theme of the programme and the first project, the Connectivity Project, will focus on improving a 5km stretch of the river from Levenmouth to Cameron Bridge with the aim of creating an exemplar river park and network of paths that connect isolated communities to one another, as well as to jobs, training, town centres, leisure and health opportunities.
A recent independent appraisal of the Mid-Fife economy identified a set of proposed actions aimed at supporting place-based inclusive growth in the four local committee areas and Mid-Fife as a whole.
These proposals have been reviewed within the context of the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and six key themes identified as priorities for investment in Mid-Fife, as shown in this diagram.
The following sections of the prospectus identify the range of projects currently identified to support the delivery of the six priorities. Given the ongoing economic uncertainties associated with the impact of Covid-19, this framework of projects will continue to be reviewed and refined as appropriate to reflect both economic conditions and available opportunities.
Working in partnership with key stakeholders, our aim is to promote the development of an appropriate range of high-quality modern business premises at key locations across Mid-Fife.
Designed to address post-Covid requirements, meet the needs of growing Mid-Fife companies, and attract new high-growth businesses to the area, these new facilities will support high-speed digital connectivity, encourage innovation clusters and, where appropriate, include on-site support to help businesses start-up and grow.
Promoting high-end business and innovation support which increases the links into Higher Education (College Higher Education, Universities and Research Institutes) and, in particular, R&D / innovation support.
Encouraging and supporting digital and data-driven innovation (DDI). Working with partner agencies and other key stakeholders to promote awareness of supply chain opportunities and support the development of supplier capabilities and capacity in Fife, including the adoption of Community Wealth Building principles to boost the local economy.
Up-skilling & re-skilling our workforce by building on existing work and initiatives to create skills programmes targeted to supporting the needs of the Mid-Fife area.
Responding effectively to mitigate the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on local businesses, jobs and those entering the workforce.
Supporting the policy direction set by the Scottish Government and UK Government to support business resilience, sustainability and recovery.
Providing support to those who have lost their jobs, or at risk of losing their jobs, and those at greatest disadvantage struggling to find employment.
Helping existing businesses up-skill and/or re-skill existing employees to address new challenges and support growth and innovation.
Promoting opportunities for young people joining the workforce and supporting women returning to the workforce.
Improving digital and data skills to support the needs of business.
Increasing the availability of modern, foundation and graduate apprenticeships in Fife and positive destinations for school leavers.
Working with key stakeholders to support an enhanced approach to promoting enterprise within Mid-Fife schools and the creation of extended pathways that include work experience, internships, apprenticeships and a network of business role models.
Developing the next generation of enterprise hubs / co-working spaces in key locations, based on the successful Fife Enterprise Hub model, taking cogniscence of the impact of Covid-19 on new ways of working and market conditions.
Seeking to create added-value through links culture of enterprise links between schools, start-up support services, enterprise hubs, established local businesses and town centre re-purposing.
Supporting those with multiple barriers to accessing and sustaining employment opportunities.
Promoting opportunities for young people joining the workforce
Supporting those with complex disabilities and health conditions into work
Addressing barriers to getting more women in Mid-Fife into employment; including skills development, access to childcare, transport, flexible working, safety and fair work practices, and healthcare support.
Adopting a place-based approach recognises the need for quality of place as a driver for, and determinant of, successful local economies.
The changing retail market, accelerated by the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, is having a profound effect on the high street. The challenge ahead is to re-purpose our town centres to create greater vibrancy and social connectivity with a focus on user experience, including the evening economy.
Housing and town centre living, alongside transport, green space and access to services, all have a key role to play in supporting the rejuvenation of our town centres and enhancing the attractiveness of Mid-Fife as a great place to live, work, learn, visit and invest.
Natural assets and outdoor facilities provide significant opportunities to promote increased awareness of tourism and active leisure in Mid-Fife via a focus on the quality of the product offering and associated infrastructure (notably accommodation).
Key activities include: