Student Diane Bruce and graduate Rowan Paterson secured placements at Fèisean nan Gàidheal, promoting Gaelic culture and music through events, partnerships and other initiatives.
Fèisean nan Gàidheal, a non-profit company, supports the development of community-based Gaelic arts tuition and festivals, playing an important role in preserving the language and its culture.
A Gaelic student at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI - the University of the Highlands and Islands, Diane, secured a 12-week summer placement earlier this year at Fèisean nan Gàidheal’s Inverness office in events marketing. In the role, she implemented an event marketing strategy for Gaelic music events; the Blas Festival and Ceilidh Trail.
One of her main responsibilities was developing the online presence of the events. Diane explained: “I was responsible for engaging with local communities to raise awareness of the Blas Festival and Ceilidh Trail events through online marketing channels.
“I learned a lot about the importance of social media advertising and search engine optimisation – something I didn’t know much about beforehand!
“As a non-native speaker, my written and spoken Gaelic has come on leaps and bounds by working in a Gaelic-speaking office. I’ve been able to put the grammar and vocabulary I have built up at university into practice, and both have improved dramatically.
“It can often be hard to build-up and maintain relationships in Gaelic speaking communities and organisations as a learner, but I’ve managed to make some great contacts in my time at Fèisean nan Gàidheal that should stand me in good stead for the future.
“I’m back at university now, studying for my Gaelic Language and Culture degree. When I complete it, I’d like to make the move into teaching the language by studying for a PGDE in Gaelic Medium Secondary Education.
“My understanding of the language and culture have improved immeasurably by taking part in the ScotGrad placement. The encouragement and support ScotGrad and Fèisean nan Gàidheal have provided has been fantastic. If there’s an opportunity to apply for a second placement, I wouldn’t hesitate to do it again!”
Another Gaelic speaker, Rowan Paterson, who also studied at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig UHI, joined Fèisean nan Gàidheal in January 2015 as a marketing and publicity officer after graduating with BA (Hons) Gaelic and Development. Rowan’s graduate placement was for 12 months initially, but having impressed in her role, Rowan secured a full-time position at the organisation.
She said: “On my marketing and publicity placement I worked on a number of important and rewarding events. One of the main focuses of my role was helping to run 47 fèisean (Gaelic for festivals), to give young people the opportunity to try traditional instruments and activities.
“Seeing our hard work culminate in a fantastic week of music, language and culture was fantastic. Seeing a child arrive unable to play a note on an instrument and leaving playing a full tune is incredible and truly inspiring.
“The events were all over the country, so planning and good time management were essential. As well as improving these skills, operating in a completely Gaelic-speaking environment, my grasp of the language and culture improved a lot.
“When my placement ended, I was delighted to be given a full-time role as development officer. It’s a fantastic organisation with great colleagues, managers, morals and opportunities.
“My ScotGrad placement really helped to ease the transition from student to working life. The support they offered really helped make the placement thoroughly enjoyable. I would encourage anyone to go for a ScotGrad placement.”
More information about ScotGrad’s Gaelic summer placement opportunities in the Highlands and Islands can be found here. For graduate Gaelic related placements keep an eye on our graduate placement vacancies page.