This article, written by Katie Macleod, was first published in EVENTS newspaper (available at on 07/06/2018

Over the last two years, the Education Department at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has rejuvenated its apprenticeship scheme in the Western Isles, widening its scope, increasing the number of opportunities available, and placing it squarely within the economic strategy and needs of the region.

Apprenticeships are now available in multiple industries across the public and private and sectors, allowing people of all ages to gain qualifications - learning and earning at the same time. 

Here, some of the islands’ recent apprentices share their experiences.

This article, written by Katie Macleod, was first published in EVENTS newspaper (available at on 07/06/2018

Dìleab – which means “legacy” in Gaelic – is an ambitious inter-generational bilingual project that explores the legacy of four major social influences on the Outer Hebrides over the last century, bringing in participants that range from school pupils to local musicians.

Over the next 12 months, the project will see the four secondary schools in the islands focus on four major themes: Barra will look at emigration; Uist will examine wartime experiences; Harris will study protest and politics; and Lewis pupils will be researching the tragedy of the Iolaire.

This article by Katie Macleod was first published in EVENTS newspaper (available at on 05/07/2018

“The early years of a child’s life are the most crucial to a child’s development, and have a lasting impact on their outcomes later in life,” explains Becky Maclean, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Early Years Service Manager.

With this in mind, Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) services are being expanded throughout the Western Isles – and across the country – under the Scottish Government’s plan to provide 1140 hours of free childcare to eligible children by August 2020.

This ELC expansion plan will see the government almost double the amount of free nursery time provided in Early Learning for all eligible two-, three- and four-year-olds, in an attempt to provide greater choice and flexibility for families, and close the poverty-related attainment gap. As Becky notes, “current research shows that children benefit in social, emotional, and educational outcomes from attending nursery, especially those from more challenging backgrounds.”

This article by Katie Macleod was first published in EVENTS newspaper (available at on 07/06/2018

With another year’s school exams over, young people in the Western Isles will be looking forward to their holidays – and ahead to their potential career prospects.

For those unsure of their next steps, or considering pathways into the world of work, new openings in Comhairle nan Eilean’s apprenticeship scheme offer even more opportunities this summer.

Twenty-five new posts are currently open for applications, across health and social care, child care, re-ablement, business administration, attainment, IT, and social work; there’s also a very attractive position open for a trainee accountant.

This article, written by Katie Macleod, was first published in EVENTS newspaper (available at on 07/12/2017

As technology changes the nature of work everywhere, and local population numbers continue to fluctuate, people across Scotland are considering what these changes mean for the continued sustainability of their communities.

In the Outer Hebrides, the question being asked is: what does the future hold for our communities?

These questions – and responses – are currently being navigated by the Outer Hebrides Community Planning Partnership (OHCPP), with the action needing to be taken outlined in their recently published Local Outcome Improvement Plan (LOIP).

In general, community planning is focused on how public agencies work with the private sector, voluntary agencies, and communities themselves to deliver better services. The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 introduced a shift from councils being lead community partners to there being a core group of agencies with a duty to facilitate this kind of community planning