A pilot customer-care project which brought six jobs for Gaelic speakers to Stornoway has been described as ‘a permanent fixture’ by CalMac, in an announcement today (Sunday January 12th).

The UK's largest ferry and harbour operator created a new bilingual Gaelic and English customer care centre in Stornoway last summer, bringing six new jobs to the town.

Previously assistance from a Gaelic speaker was only available to customers from port offices in Gaelic-speaking areas, but now anyone who would like to make an enquiry in Gaelic can be transferred to a native speaker to deal with their booking.

The Stornoway team will also be steadily making CalMac's social media channels bi-lingual. CalMac’s social media channels were particularly praised when the company’s customer service team achieved the highest level of accreditation from the Contact Centre Association last year.

CalMac managing director Robbie Drummond said: “Our social media platforms have a large and loyal following which continues to grow as passenger numbers increase. Being able to offer bi-lingual messages allows us to focus even more closely on how we speak to customers in a way that suits them best.”

Of the jobs in Stornoway, Robbie said: “We are committed to looking at ways of spreading jobs more evenly across our area of operations and I'm delighted to confirm that the summer pilot we ran in Stornoway will now be a permanent fixture in the town.

“Given the prevalence of the Gaelic language in the Western Isles it was a natural step to make this the centre of our new bi-lingual customer service offering.”