This article by Katie Macleod was first published in EVENTS newspaper (available at on 08/08/2019 

 Distilling gin. Designing brand graphics. Learning the ins and outs of managing a business. Getting to grips with engineering. All these skills – and more – are being mastered by young people in the Western Isles who are both studying and learning on the job thanks to apprenticeships at all levels.

And apprenticeship opportunities in the islands are expanding again, with the launch of six new Foundation Apprenticeships in the Senior Phase, for pupils in S4-S6.

“We’ve done a lot of work with the four presenting centres through the Skills Development Scotland (SDS) Foundation Apprenticeship Programme,” explains Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Apprenticeship Manager, Dolina Smith.

This article by Katie Macleod was first published in EVENTS newspaper (available at on 10/01/2019 

For education in the Western Isles, 2018 was a year of change, growth, and plenty of success, whether it was the increased apprenticeship opportunities for school leavers, or the artistic achievements of young people performing at the commemorative Dìleab concerts

Here, EVENTS looks back at the last 12 months in local education, taking in policy changes, curriculum developments, and the hard work of young people and teachers throughout the islands.

This article by Katie Macleod was first published in EVENTS newspaper (available at on 10/01/2019 

The year 2018 was designated Scotland’s ‘Year of Young People,’ a way of combining themed events across the country as the year went on, all aiming to inspire the country through young people’s ideas, attitudes, and ambitions.

It started with a bang in the New Year, launching at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, and ended on a high too, with young people from the Western Isles attending a host of high-profile Year of Young People (YOYP) events on the mainland in November and December.

First up was the Spirit of Young People event, a special partnership between Loganair and YOYP that saw a chartered plane flying 30 young people from three island authorities – the Western Isles, Orkney, and Shetland – to Edinburgh for a parliamentary reception at Holyrood on 29thNovember.

This article by Katie Macleod was first published in EVENTS newspaper (available at on 07/02/2019 

Young people in the Western Isles are getting ready to deliberate over their school subject choices in the next few weeks, and this year they’re going to have more varied options than ever before, thanks to new and ongoing developments in the education curriculum, from new qualifications to joint projects with other island authorities

“In terms of the curriculum, we are encouraging schools to work in a harmonized way across the Western Isles,” explains Angus Maclennan, Head Teacher at e-Sgoil.  “Harmonization” doesn’t necessarily mean that timetables will be exactly the same across all four secondary schools at all times, but rather that timetables will be similar enough to allow a widening of options and opportunities for all pupils, regardless of their location.  Angus adds that it’s about using initiatives such as e-Sgoil and partnerships between schools – and even other island authorities – to increase the options available.

This article by Fred Silver was first published in EVENTS newspaper (available at on 07/02/2019 

About 30 years ago, I was driving home from work, through the heavily built-up streets of Bedminster on the edge of Bristol city centre.

It was after 1am, as I worked on a daily newspaper published each weekday morning. The streets were dark, the lights not really bright enough to be certain of your surroundings.