Ruairidh Graham studied Gàidhlig agus Leasachadh (Gaelic and Development) at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig and graduated in 2014. He currently works as a Graduate Development Officer with Sleat Community Trust on the Isle of Skye.
What does your job involve?
The core remit of my job as a Development Officer is focused on a redevelopment project which takes into account two separate community owned sites. My duties in this respect include sourcing funding, writing a brief for the stage 1 feasibility study of the two sites, managing consultants and keeping everything on track.
In my day to day duties I am split between the office and the community owned forest from which timber trading activities such as chipping wood for local biomass boilers have emerged. I have been involved in setting up a new committee with a view to organising Sleat's (an area of southern Skye) first triathlon next year, set up a crowd-funding campaign and have secured around £25K in funding for the Trust over the past year.
What did you study at the University of the Highlands and Islands and how does it relate to your current job?
I studied Gaelic and Development which was a kind of bridging between Highland issues, Sociolinguistics and minority language cases from throughout the world. Although technically speaking the link between most of the subject matter that I studied, and the job I am in now is a tenuous one, I have found an awareness of Highland issues and culture, community and language issues to be very helpful in me to understand my job and indeed my role Development Officer for a rural island community.
How did you get into your job?
While I was studying at Sabhal Mòr I had been involved in community work, helping out at youth clubs and becoming chairperson of the local Fèis in Skye and Lochalsh. After university I was desperately looking for an opportunity to stay on Skye and when I noticed this job advertised as part of the ScotGrad scheme I went for it straight away. After the interview I was told that I had secured the position. The university itself was instrumental in shaping the person that I am today. I owe a lot of my core principals as well as my academic achievements to Sabhal Mòr and I think that has helped to make me more confident in my approach to future career opportunities. I think the best courses challenge your previous outlook on life and on that basis I would say that the Gaelic and Development course fundamentally changed the way I think about the world and my place in it as a Gael. This thinking has helped me make connections outside of university life and given me the drive to achieve things that I never thought I could.
Where would you like to go with your career in the future?
I would first like to move into a Gaelic Development post within education before a move into teaching itself. This way I am confident that I will gain more of an understanding of the challenges and aspirations that teachers and parents of Gaelic Medium Education (GME) children share - which I’m sure will help me further as I embark on a teaching career.
Do you have any advice for current students?
Never be afraid to speak Gaelic. Be who you feel. End of.