Normally I might be skeptical of funding initiatives from industry insider groups like the UK’s Creative Skillset, “the industry skills body for the Creative Industries,” especially when the amounts in question are relatively meager. But the latest announcement from Creative Skillset Scotland is about a program that actually might make some difference in Alba – even when it only involves £1.3 million ($2.14 million).
According to the announcement, Creative Skillset Scotland has invested through its Skills Investments Funds, with equal matched funding from BBC Scotland, Red Kite and Digimania, STV Productions and Young Films. One of the key items in this funding program is an initiative from Young Films and the TV media groups to enhance skills in scriptwriting in Scottish Gaelic.
“Young Films recognised a shortage of writing talent required to develop the output of MG Alba, Scotland’s Gaelic TV channel,” said Chris Young, director of Scottish independent film and TV production company, Young Films. “Creative Skillset Scotland investment enabled us to set up a training programme to develop TV drama scriptwriting skills of native Gaelic speakers.”
The modern renaissance in Scottish Gaelic tends to polarize opinion in Scotland, with many residents deploring the money and effort spent on reviving a language spoken by only 1.1 percent of the population c.2011. However, there is considerable official and popular impetus behind the revival elsewhere, under the Scottish government’s National Gaelic Language Plan and independently, and programs like this can only further boost acceptance and productivity for Gaelic-language arts.
Other initiatives backed by the new funding include the creation of a Modern Apprenticeship (MA) at Level 3 in Creative and Digital Media. Paul Holleran, Scottish organiser of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Scotland said: “It’s been a great experience working with Creative Skillset Scotland to develop a Modern Apprenticeship to support digital journalism skills. The new MA in Creative and Digital Media offers a fantastic new career path for young people and gives employers a way to bring on bright and ambitious new recruits to support business growth within the sector.”