A programme which brings fresh thinking and new talent to businesses in the Highlands and Islands is celebrating a milestone by delivering its 100th graduate placement.
Twenty-four year old Linguistics graduate Ruth Cape is working with trail-blazing membership organisation Community Land Scotland in Tarbert on the Isle of Harris.
The TalentScotland Graduate Placement is managed in the region by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). The programme recruits skilled graduates to growing Scottish businesses or social enterprises to carry out innovative projects the business otherwise would not be able to progress.
Community Land Scotland was established in 2010 and current membership includes Scottish community landowners which own and manage almost 500,000 acres between them. The company acts to represent their views in any areas where they have common interests.
Ruth, originally from Stirling, has started work as Community Land Scotland’s Membership and Marketing Officer. She gained an Honours degree from the University of Edinburgh and has already experienced island life in northern Norway while studying with the University of Tromsø.
Since graduating, she has worked as a researcher for The Volunteer Centre Western Isles through the Third Sector Internship Scheme and volunteered at a number of local events.
Ruth commented: “My dissertation at university was based around Gaelic medium education, sparking an interest in moving to the Western Isles - I also fell in love with the islands after a camping trip there.
“Community land ownership is an issue that I really want to learn more about and it is an inspiring area of work. I am hugely grateful for the opportunity this placement gives me to get involved.
“My role is to help build a better service for our members, including bringing people together to share knowledge and experience. I will also be involved in establishing the Scottish International Land Trust, which will be an additional resource for communities to tap into.”
David Cameron, Chairman of Community Land Scotland, said: “Community Land Scotland is a young membership-based organisation formed just over two years ago and very focused on representing the views of existing and aspiring community landowners. We aim to represent tens of thousands of people living and working on half a million acres of Scottish land that they own or hope to own.
“Our membership has almost doubled over the two years and we have always been aware that our strength comes from these people. Ruth’s placement with us through the Graduate Placement Programme will ensure that Community Land Scotland can respond to the wishes of these members.
“The scheme itself is very well organised and the assistance from TalentScotland was excellent. The applicants were of a high calibre and we were spoilt for choice.
“Ruth has only been with us for a few weeks but has settled in well. One of our aims is that she too should benefit from her work with us over the next year.”
Lara Pollard, Business Engagement Manager from Highlands and Islands Enterprise, said: “This programme benefits employers and graduates. It brings fresh thinking and new talent to hundreds of businesses and social enterprises across Scotland while giving talented graduates vital experience in a paid full-time job.
“We are delighted to have reached this milestone of matching 100 graduates with employers. One of the programme’s benefits is that graduates from across the UK see the range and breadth of interesting job opportunities that exist in the region. Our hope is that they base themselves here after they have completed their studies.
“All kinds of businesses have taken part, including tourism organisations, arts companies, charities, social enterprises, engineering companies, port authorities and games development companies. They are based across the Highlands and Islands, from Shetland to Argyll and Moray to the Outer Hebrides.”