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A clearer picture of the Gaelic language labour market has emerged thanks to a new study published by Skills Development Scotland (SDS).

Developed in partnership with Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the study found that the key sectors of the economy where Gaelic can bring the most economic value are public administration, education, creative industries and tourism.

The study was welcomed by Deputy First Minister, John Swinney.

He said: “I am proud to have responsibility for Gaelic and the commitment that the Scottish Government has shown in supporting the language ‎is clearly providing opportunities for those who have or are interested in learning Gaelic.

“The growth in Gaelic language, desirable and essential jobs, will provide our young people with a wealth of exciting career choices and I hope that this report will encourage more people to consider learning Gaelic.”

Detailed evidence base

As well as looking at the demand for Gaelic language skills, the report considers the supply of Gaelic language skills from nursery through to Further and Higher Education, analyses the opportunities and challenges, and proposes future actions.

Damien Yeates, Chief Executive of SDS, said: “Developing a detailed evidence base of current and future skills demand is essential for all parts of our economy, and the Gaelic language labour market is no exception.

“Last year SDS published the second edition of its Gaelic Language Plan, and this study was one of the key commitments contained in that plan.

“The evidence will help inform future investment aimed at promoting the Gaelic language and culture.”

Eilean Siar, Glasgow and Highland are the three areas with the highest number of jobs in which Gaelic is considered essential, together accounting for 93 per cent of the Scottish total.

Nearly three-quarters of such full-time posts are held by women, reflecting the concentration of jobs in Education, Early Learning and Childcare, and 62 per cent of posts are in professional occupations.

Demand from employers

Shona MacLennan, Chief Executive of Bòrd na Gàidhlig, said: “Bòrd na Gàidhlig is clear that growing the number of Gaelic-essential jobs and jobs which use Gaelic is important in ensuring that Gaelic is used more often, by more people and in a wider range of situations.

“The key challenge is to ensure that the flow of people with high quality Gaelic language skills entering the labour market is matched to the demand from employers across the public, private and third sectors, and from across Scotland.”

Future actions proposed in the report include forming a national group with responsibility for Gaelic language skills featuring a range of partners, increased monitoring and evaluation of the activities in place to support the language, and the maintenance and development of the evidence base for the Gaelic language labour market.

Charlotte Wright, Chief Executive of Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), said: “Gaelic is fundamental to HIE’s unique remit which integrates economic and community development throughout the Highlands and Islands.

“Our support has helped create and sustain the impact of numerous organisations which enable Gaelic to flourish, and we look forward to continuing to work with businesses, social enterprises and community organisations that can add value through using Gaelic to help realise its full potential.”

Find out more

An Executive Summary and infographic is available in both English and Gaelic, along with the full data report, here.

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