Graduates & Students

Spòrsnis on the Isle of Lewis: Gaelic for sports and recreation

University of Strathclyde graduate Mìcheil Russell Smith talks about his placement on the Isle of Lewis.

Published: 25/04/2018

Stacks of history, lots of wildlife, Insta-worthy beaches and friendly communities.  The Isle of Lewis in the Western Isles is a special part of Scotland. Gaelic is predominantly spoken here, and the archipelago is home to many traditional industries, such as crofting, fishing, whisky and world-famous Harris tweed.  It’s no surprise that visitor numbers here are on the increase.

Lewis-based sports and recreation centre Spòrsnis (Ness Sports) is situated close to popular tourist destinations, so within easy distance for visitors to make use of the community organisation’s range of facilities. Featuring a large multi-purpose hall, fitness suite and sauna, soft-play area and community learning resources, Spòrsnis has much to offer.  It also boasts the only 10-pin bowling alley in the Western Isles. 

Developing a tourism strategy is the focus of Mìcheil Russell Smith’s ScotGrad placement with Spòrsnis, alongside the development of a business plan and a digital marketing strategy.  Some of Mìcheil’s other objectives, already achieved, have been to develop five new clubs and build relationships with coaches.

Sporsnis on the Isle of Lewis

Mìcheil, originally hailing from Lewis, is enjoying his experience and the progress he is making: “The most rewarding achievements from my placement so far have been the development and implementation of a digital marketing strategy at Spòrsnis, and seeing some of the clubs that I have introduced be successful and popular.”

With a degree in Sport and Physical Activity, developing a business plan has been a valuable and enjoyable new challenge for Mìcheil.  ScotGrad’s 3-day residential training programme, offered to all graduates on placements in the Highlands and Islands, is specifically designed to cover basic skills around sales, marketing and business planning. Mìcheil attended the course at the start of his placement: “Much of the course was based around developing your business skills and constructing business plans, so this has helped me a lot with my project.” 

What can the Highlands and Islands offer someone making their first career move? Mìcheil thinks the communities are very welcoming and friendly so it’s an easy place to fit it.  “As most of the communities are quite small you are able to make a big difference to this community with the skills you have.

“The region also offers amazing outdoor opportunities, so if you like the outdoors the Highlands and Islands is a great place as it offers a whole range of fantastic landscapes and wildlife.” 

We also asked Mìcheil what his advice would be to a student thinking ahead to graduation. “Stay calm and focus on your studies, and when opportunities come around don’t be put off just because they might not be what you expected or wanted to be doing after graduation. You may be surprised at how much you learn from these experiences.”

ScotGrad placements are advertised throughout the year. For more information about how graduates have supported business growth across Scotland take a look at our success stories. Never miss an update by registering with us.