27 Students take advantage of summer work opportunities
Issued by Comunn na Gàidhlig
27 students were provided with summer work under this year’s Students Summer Placement Scheme, which HIE contract Comunn na Gàidhlig to deliver.
The students, who are either fluent Gaelic speakers or learners, are working with businesses and third sector organisations across the Highlands and islands. The work placements are for a minimum of 10 weeks over the summer months.
The scheme aims to provide the students with work with businesses and third sector organisations where Gaelic is the main language in the workplace. The students benefit from the scheme in many ways – they are immersed in a “Gaelic environment” for the 10 weeks, which improves their level of fluency; they gain experience of a working environment; they are given the opportunity to return to their own communities for the summer months and the opportunity to earn some money. There are also benefits for the employers in that they get young, enthusiastic workers with specific skills and also are given financial assistance to help with costs. The scheme also provides employers with the opportunity to see students, who will be graduating in the not too distant future, with a view to future recruitment.
Neil Ross, Head of Community Growth at Highlands and Islands Enterprise said: "We are delighted to be providing opportunities for Gaelic students to access quality students summer placements in parallel with growth support for the host organisations which Comunn na Gàidhlig have identified. The placements provide students with paid, project-based work experience in a predominantly Gaelic-speaking environment whilst businesses benefit from up-to-date academic knowledge and fresh thinking to help the business grow. It also gives many students additional opportunities to work in their own communities over the summer months. The benefits of the programme are significant in both economic and population retention and growth terms, enhancing the resilience of local economies.”
Annabel Maclennan, who is a student in Glasgow University, and is on placement with the BBC in Stornoway, over the summer months said: “I am thoroughly enjoying my placement with BBC Radio nan Gàidheal. Since I started here, my skills in researching have greatly improved and I have a learnt a lot about programme making. I would recommend the Summer Placement Scheme to anybody who wishes to work in a Gaelic environment and wishes to develop their existing skills and learn new ones. Another huge benefit of the scheme is that it enables students like myself, who are studying in colleges and universities in the central belt, to come back home, to my own community for the summer month. Were it not for this scheme, I am certain there are a number of students who would have to remain on the mainland to get summer jobs.”
Floraidh Maclean, from the BBC, which has participated in the scheme over the years said: “It is good that we are able to welcome young people to Gaelic broadcasting and to give them an opportunity to gain experience in the industry. It has also always been a priority for us to encourage new talent. We are delighted with the young students who are with us year, as is the case each year, and this year we have the added bonus of being based in the new Taigh Shìophort which provides more opportunities for the students.”
Councillor Hamish Fraser Chair of The Highland Council's Gaelic Implementation Group said: “ The Student Placement Scheme provides an excellent opportunity for young people to gain valuable work experience within both the public and private sector and also using their Gaelic skills on a daily basis within the general working environment”, he continued, “the use of Gaelic in the Workplace is one of the 5 themes in the Highland Council’s Gaelic Language Plan and I see the Student Placement Scheme as an excellent example of how young people can use and develop their linguistic skills whilst based within organisations and businesses in the Highlands and Islands. I wish all the students participating in the Scheme every success.”
Donald MacNeill, Ceannard of Comunn na Gàidhlig, who run the scheme said: “We are extremely proud of this scheme which has been running successfully now for 10 years. Over these past 10 years almost 250 students have participated in the scheme. This year we have an excellent geographic spread with students on placement in Lewis, North Uist, Benbecula, South Uist, Barra, Tiree, Skye and Inverness and this has enabled many of these students who are studying in colleges and universities across Scotland to return home to their own communities for the summer months. This is important. We are extremely grateful to Highlands and Islands Enterprise for this commission and the majority of the funding for this scheme, and also to Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and The Highland Council who also provide funding for the scheme.”