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Bòrd na Gàidhlig today announced the appointment of Ealasaid MacDonald as its new Ceannard (CEO) who will take up the post in September 2023.
Ealasaid, hailing from the Western Isles and with her home in Stornoway has extensive experience of working in both mainland and island settings. In her current role as Director of Strategy and External Affairs with MG ALBA she leads on corporate and stakeholder communications. With experience of working in the public sector and as a freelance policy and public affairs consultant, Ealasaid has been at the forefront of many initiatives and developments to promote the needs of Gaelic speakers throughout her career.
Based in Stornoway, Ealasaid will lead Bòrd na Gàidhlig through forthcoming developments, working closely with Board members and the senior management team, and also with Scottish Government, public bodies and Gaelic communities.
Màiri MacInnes, Chair of Bòrd na Gàidhlig, said: “We are delighted to welcome Ealasaid to this important role, at an exciting time for the progress of the Gaelic language with a new National Gaelic Language Plan and a new Scottish Languages Bill. She has a background working with key public bodies and with a particular focus on corporate policy initiatives. With her experience of working in this sector, Bòrd na Gàidhlig will benefit from the skills she has acquired in management and development issues related to the Gaelic language and culture.”
Ealasaid said, “I am very pleased to be taking on this important role at a crucial time for Gaelic. I look forward to working with our communities, Gaelic organisations and wider partners to develop the Gaelic language across Scotland and beyond. Working in partnership is a reason for success as we look towards the new National Plan for Gaelic, it is more important than ever.”
Education Secretary Jenny Gilruth said: “I would like to welcome the appointment of Ealasaid MacDonald as the next CEO at Bòrd na Gàidhlig and congratulate her on a successful application for this important ministerial appointment.”
“The Scottish Government is looking forward to working closely with Ealasaid and the team at Bòrd na Gàidhlig in supporting and promoting Gaelic across Scotland as we prepare to take forward our Scottish Languages Bill.”
Mary McInnes, Chair of Bòrd na Gàidhlig said about the event:
“We welcome today’s event about Gaelic in the Scottish Parliament. Bòrd na Gàidhlig continues to work with communities and organisations in the Western Isles and elsewhere to increase the use of Gaelic as a community language.
“This follows the recognition in the third National Gaelic Language Plan that the traditional Gaelic communities face challenges in retaining economically active populations and that innovative solutions are critical in relation to employment, housing, transport, childcare and health care.
“It is vital that our Gaelic communities are at the forefront of consideration at the Convention of the Highlands and Islands and Regional Economic Partnership, and that their voice is represented in consultations on issues such as HPMAs, ferry services, housing and land reform.
“Bòrd na Gàidhlig received additional funding from the Scottish Government in 2021 and 2022 to support a network of Gaelic officers, who work with 20 community organisations in the islands, to strengthen both the use of Gaelic and its development. This scheme has awarded almost £1million since its inception two years ago.”
You can listen to the BBC’s report on the event on Aithris na Maidne here. The piece runs from 0:13:05 to 0:20:50.
In March 2022, the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy convened a Short Life Working Group (the Group) with an aim to strengthen Gaelic by means of a focus on economic opportunities and to strengthen the economy by making the most of Gaelic opportunities. The Group has published a report this morning explaining the context in which the group worked, some of the challenges facing Gaelic and also the good opportunities the languages has for positive social, economic, cultural, and educational outcomes.
The report is available on the Scottish Government’s website in both Gaelic and English and can be read here.
As part of the process, Bòrd na Gàidhlig me twith the Group on two occasions before submitting a paper to the Group, reporting and commenting on childcare, health and social care, tourism, education and teacher recruitment, housing, and a range of other issues impacting Gaelic in Scotland today. Bòrd na Gaelic have also made this paper available to read here.
On publication of the report, Mairi MacInnes, Chair of Bòrd na Gàidhlig, said:
“We welcome the Short Life Working Group’s Economic and Social Opportunities for Gaelic report to Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy. It clearly demonstrates the links between economic opportunities the language creates and the changes required to safeguard and grow Gaelic. Bòrd na Gàidhlig also welcome the group’s acknowledgment that additional funding is required to take forward new initiatives and Gaelic policy development and that it is an important aspect of the National Strategy for Economic Transformation. We were pleased to provide evidence to the Group across a range of policy areas.
“This report highlights the need for traditional communities of Gaelic speakers to be maintained and increased. This echoes the National Gaelic Language Plan which emphasises the demographic challenges island and rural communities face. These include lack of housing, the working-age population, poor transport links and social challenges and provides a range of solutions. It also recognises the role and importance of the urban communities in increasing the number of Gaelic speakers and use of the language.
“Bòrd na Gàidhlig is committed to working collaboratively to help implement these recommendations and drive positive change.”
Bòrd na Gàidhlig is the public body responsible for planning and leading the campaign to promote the Gaelic language and its culture in Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government. Our aim is that the Gaelic language will be seen and heard on a daily basis throughout Scotland, to the extent that it will be recognized as a fundamental part of the lives of the people of Scotland and as a precious language that contributes to the culture and economy of the country.
Bòrd na Gàidhlig is looking for a bold and dynamic individual with a passion for Scotland’s Gaelic language and culture and someone who can drive forward this national asset. You may come from another public sector or third sector environment with a national focus.
As Ceannard, you will ensure that decisions and policies are implemented effectively and efficiently through leading the senior management team, managing the staff and through promoting BnG’s work with others. In that role, building relationships with other organisations, public and community, as well as other government departments is key.
- Accountable to the Board, you will lead the work of the organisation, ensuring that the strategic aims and objectives of the organisation are achieved
- Accountable to the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Ministers as the Accountable Officer for Bòrd na Gàidhlig.
- Ensuring the organisation develops the National Gaelic Language Plan and monitors its implementation.
- Partnership working, initiating and establishing innovative approaches to partnerships, and modelling excellent consultation and collaboration with key stakeholders
- Leading and representing Bòrd na Gàidhlig to promote the work of the organisation, both internally and externally, working for the long-term aims of Bòrd na Gàidhlig and growing the reputation of the organisation
- Guiding the development, monitoring and reviewing of strategies and plans, through the effective management of Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s activities and resources
- Accountable for corporate governance and ensuring the organisation meets all regulatory and public sector responsibilities and duties
You will have the initiative and resilience to lead an organisation of this size in a complex environment. An outstanding communicator with integrity and enthusiasm to develop high performing teams and drive a culture of excellence. A commitment to equality, inclusion and diversity is essential to create an environment where everyone can meet their full potential.
Candidates need not necessarily have operated at CEO level before but will bring a breadth of leadership experience to this role.
If you share Bòrd na Gàidhlig’s ambitious vision and would relish driving this forward, we would very much welcome your application.
Bòrd na Gàidhlig
Scottish Ministers are seeking to appoint three skilled and committed individuals to the board of the principal public body for the promotion of the Gaelic language, Bòrd na Gàidhlig.
Scottish Ministers welcome applications from people from a wide range of backgrounds who have the following skills, knowledge and experience:
- Gaelic communication skills
- Oversight & Accountability
- Effective analysis & Decision making
- Communication & Teamworking
- Language planning
- Legal background/awareness
Cathraiche (Chair) of Bòrd na Gàidhlig, Màiri MacInnes said: “Being part of the Board of Bòrd na Gàidhlig is an exciting opportunity to be involved in the development and promotion of the language. I would encourage all those with the commitment, expertise and passion in securing the future of the Gaelic language in all communities, whether that be online, cities or rural areas to apply for one of these appointments.”
An informal information session will be held for any interested parties to ask any questions or learn more about the role on Wednesday 5 April 2023 at 6:30pm. You can register for the event at www.bit.ly/BuillBnG
Board members will be expected to spend on average three days per month on BnG business. The appointments will take effect on 1 August 2023, and the closing date for applications is 24 April 2023.
Interviews will take place in June 2023.
How to apply
An application pack and full details on these posts and other public appointments can be found at the public appointments website www.appointed-for-scotland.org.
Bòrd na Gàidhlig is aware of situations regarding Gaelic medium education and the need for more teachers to ensure that it can continue to grow.
In terms of education, Bòrd na Gàidhlig has a duty to publish the Statutory Guidance for Gaelic Education. Local authorities have the duty to provide education and responsibilities regarding teacher recruitment and retention. The Scottish Funding Council, GTCS and universities have responsibilities in relation to teacher training.
Bòrd na Gàidhlig worked with officers at Highland, Argyll and Bute and Aberdeen City Councils to make recommendations on actions that would support the recruitment and retention of teachers and that report was submitted to the Councils last year. This included recommendations on making teaching posts more attractive through offering permanent, full-time contracts, creating promotion structures and addressing issues such as access to affordable housing.
The second part of the report addressing national issues has been provided to The Highland Council, Scottish Government and others. According to the most recent SG data, over one-third of those teachers qualified to teach in Gaelic medium are currently working in English medium. You can read the full report here.
In addition to providing advice, Bòrd na Gàidhlig works to encourage people to take up a career in teaching through the #DèanDiofar (MakeaDifference) campaigns promoting teaching and early-years careers, and through collaboration with many other organisations. BnG has a Development Officer (Teachers) who visits schools and universities to bring teaching to people’s attention as a career.
Bursaries are available from Bòrd na Gàidhlig to encourage people who are considering changing careers to train as teachers, for students undertaking Initial Teacher Education, for those who are registered teachers to become Gaelic-medium teachers through immersion courses and support also for probationary teachers.
In February 2023 Bòrd na Gàidhlig submitted a response to the Scottish Parliament’s Public Participation Inquiry. Amongst the points raised, we said:
One of the Key Messages in the Public Participation Summary Report was that “The Scottish Parliament needs to do more to tell people about its engagement and participation work”. Bòrd na Gàidhlig recognises the excellent work of the Gaelic Officer at the Parliament but more could be done to ensure equity of engagement and participation for Gaelic speakers. It would include emphasising the ability to use Gaelic in responding to the Parliament whether in writing or giving evidence orally. Use of Gaelic in engagement would increase interest and participation by Gaelic users – among both organisations and individuals.
The full response can be read here.