Do you have what it takes to be an Inverness Chamber of Commerce director?

At a time of significant challenge, but also considerable opportunity, for Inverness and the Highlands, leadership is of vital importance.

It is therefore essential we have the right people in place to help drive forward this region and represent the business community over the next few years.

Inverness Chamber of Commerce is looking for new directors with the right qualities to help actively connect and represent businesses across the Highlands to support their growth.

Leading up to our annual general meeting on 24 April we have been holding board information sessions to outline how our directors provide the strategic direction for the organisation and review the financial and operational performance.

Anyone with appropriate experience employed with a member business that has been in membership for at least one year is eligible to join the chamber board. We are particularly keen to have representation from the tourism, digital/IT, construction, retail and creative sectors.

As the voice of business in the Highlands, Inverness Chamber of Commerce seeks to attract the best people to represent our members and effectively lobby local authorities and governments to enhance infrastructure and services to help our economy.

There are exciting and challenging times ahead. In Inverness a number of developments are ongoing that will improve the physical and economic landscape; a raft of new hotels are being built around the city centre; new retail, residential and commercial buildings will improve Academy Street and the Old Town and the new Inverness Justice Centre will provide a state-of-the-art new court hub while allowing Inverness Castle to re refurbished as a tourist attraction.

However we need to keep the pressure on developers, councillors and others to ensure the revamped castle, and the Victorian Market, are upgraded to the highest standards to provide the city with the best possible attractions for local people and visitors, while providing long-term economic benefits to Inverness and beyond.

We also need to maintain our lobbying to improve transport links to and from the Highlands to ensure our business community is working on a level playing field.

The programmes to upgrade the A9 and A96 must not be allowed to be diverted or fall behind schedule. In tandem with this, upgrades to the rail network are urgently required to ensure the north of Scotland is not disadvantaged by geography.

Similarly, it is crucial that air connections between Heathrow and regional airports, including Inverness, are ring-fenced to guarantee connectivity for business and leisure traffic.

Broadband connectivity is also key for future trade and another aspect of our campaigning will focus on access to superfast broadband for all parts of the Highland and Islands.

In the lead up to Brexit, Inverness Chamber was an important source of advice and training to businesses exporting to the EU. Post Brexit our new board will continue to guide companies through the complexities of international trade and also offer support to tackle new migration proposals affecting low-skilled workers that could affect some businesses, and even whole sectors, in this region.