A new education and research campus in the Highlands highlights the need for such projects in other rural locations, Business Secretary Vince Cable has said.
He was speaking during a visit with fellow Lib Dem MP Danny Alexander to Inverness Campus, which is under development in the east of the city.
It will be home to academic, research and business organisations with the first occupier, Inverness College University of the Highlands and Islands, due to open its doors in autumn 2015. It is hoped the campus could create up to 6,000 jobs over 30 years and deter younger people from leaving the area.
Mr Cable said: "The plans for the campus site are enormously encouraging. The work going on here highlights the need for more projects like the UHI in rural locations across the UK. In recent years we have seen the problems created by over- centralisation of skills and industries.
"The Inverness Campus will give local people the chance to reach their full potential, without having to uproot, and it will allow local businesses and industries access to a highly-skilled and well-trained local workforce. I look forward to seeing what benefits the campus will bring to the region."
Construction is under way to create Inverness Campus on 215 acres of land owned by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) at the Beechwood site in east Inverness. The HIE board has committed up to £25 million to develop the first phase.
Mr Alexander, Lib Dem MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, said: "It is exciting to see the first phase of the Inverness Campus, which will eventually be the heart of the UHI, starting to take shape. This project is hugely important for the future of the Highlands.
"Our area is already seeing an economic benefit from the work going on here and, once the campus is complete, it will create many more jobs and help bring in outside investment for our growing industries and local research. At the centre of it all, the campus will mean more opportunities for local people and give younger folk a good reason to stay in the Highlands."
Mr Cable and Mr Alexander also visited the Scottish Provincial Press (SPP) Career and Training Exhibition 2012 at the Eastgate Shopping Centre in the city.
The free event, aimed at school-leavers, the unemployed and people seeking to start up a new business or change career, was arranged by local newspaper group SPP to provide advice and potential training and recruitment opportunities.