APPRENTICESHIPS are to be delivered in Gaelic as part of measures to support the language.

Skills Development Scotland (SDS) plans to deliver existing Foundation and Modern Apprenticeships in Gaelic where there is a recognised need — with Health and Social Care and Childcare as well as the Creative Industries identified as areas of demand.

Other measures that are part of SDS’s new Gaelic Language Plan include: working with partners to develop resources including up-to-date Gaelic labour market information; using Gaelic staff resources to expand services in schools delivered through the medium of Gaelic; developing web resources; and promoting Gaelic careers.

“This plan sets out a formal structure for our support of the Gaelic language until 2020, with new initiatives and clear measurable targets that highlight Skills Development Scotland’s commitment to the Gaelic language and culture,” said Derek MacKenzie, SDS Gaelic Development Officer.

“We’ve had great successes since the first plan was published, showcased recently when we won the Scottish Gaelic Award for Best Event with our partners for our work on a series Gaelic career events.

“The focus on apprenticeships in the new plan is an important one, we want to ensure that young people are able to access the opportunities apprenticeships offer in a learning style that suits them and that will bring benefits to their future career.”

In 2011, 87,100 people aged three and over in Scotland, or 1.7 per cent of the population, had some Gaelic language skills. Of these, 32,400, or 37 per cent had full skills in Gaelic; 57,600 (66 per cent) could speak Gaelic; 6,100 (7 per cent) were able to read and/or write but not speak Gaelic; while 23,400 (27 per cent) were able to understand Gaelic but could not speak, read or write it.

A Gaelic language survey carried out by SDS last year showed 16 per cent of SDS employees could speak Gaelic to some extent while 11 per cent could read Gaelic to some extent and seven per cent could write in Gaelic.

SDS careers advisers work in every state secondary school in Scotland and from its careers centres across the country.