25 students are en route back to their courses in colleges and universities across Scotland, having spent the past 10 weeks working with different organisations and businesses in their own communities as part of Comunn na Gàidhlig's Student Summer Placement Scheme.
This scheme, which has been running successfully for the past 10 years, gives Gaelic-speaking students, an opportunity to spend 10 weeks with organisations and businesses that are involved in Gaelic development and community development.
The scheme provides students with an opportunity to improve their level of Gaelic fluency and to pick up skills from being in the working environment. In addition, it provides an opportunity for students to spend the summer months in their own communities whilst also giving them employment.
On this year's Scheme, there were a total of 12 students working in the Western Isles, 5 in Skye, 4 in Inverness, 1 in Islay and 3 in Glasgow.
Donald MacNeill, Chief Executive of Comunn na Gàidhlig which administers the scheme, said, ''We are proud of this scheme. It gives the students experience in the workplace and gives them an opportunity to learn new skills, as well as improving their Gaelic fluency. It also gives them an insight into the type of job opportunities that may be available to them, in their own communities, once they have completed their own education. We are grateful to the organizations who fund the scheme, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, Highland Council and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.''
Neil Ross from Highlands and Islands Enterprise said, ''We firmly believe that young people are vitally important in our efforts to strengthen communities, and this Scheme gives students an opportunity to maintain the ties they have with their own communities, and indeed to strengthen these ties by spending the summer months working within them.
He continued "We can see there are benefits in the scheme for the students, the organizations and businesses that employ them, and also the communities themselves, with the students being given the opportunity to return to them during the summer months. We also notice that over the years, many of the students who have participated in the Student Scheme are successful in gaining full-time employment in Gaelic related jobs, once they have completed their studies.''
Donald Morrison, Chief Executive of Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig remarked, ''It was a delight to participate in this year's Summer Placement Scheme. Vitality and growth are fundamental to all developments throughout the world and there are plenty of these to be found in this scheme.
The students were able to bring a new dimension to the work we do on a daily basis, and according to their own testimonies, they thoroughly enjoyed the experience as well. They were grateful for the opportunity of being in an environment totally immersed in Gaelic, which helped develop their language skills as they were steeped in their daily work. We gave every encouragement to broaden the students' awareness of work undertaken by other organisations through visiting nearby businesses.
I believe this was a huge success and well worth the effort. Although the scheme is now over for another year, I envisage that the link between our company and the students will continue over the months and years to come.''