Look out for Gaelic taxis promoting learning on the streets of Edinburgh and Glasgow!
The yellow and blue liveried vehicles, with course names in Gaelic on the bodywork, are part of a groundbreaking partnership between learndirect scotland and Sabhal Mòr Ostaig to encourage more Scots to try learning Gaelic.
As part of this initiative both organisations will look at developing short 'bite-sized' Gaelic taster courses for beginners and hospitality packages for the tourism industry that will include greeting visitors to Scotland with a Gaelic welcome.
To celebrate the launch of the partnership, Director of Development at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Donnie Munro, learndirect scotland chief executive, Frank Pignatelli and Minister for Gaelic, Alasdair Morrison took the first trip in one of the taxis.
Alasdair Morrison said, "In European Year of Languages 2001 Scots are more than ever aware that we have in Gaelic a unique resource. We are determined that the opportunity to learn Gaelic should be extended as widely as possible. Learndirect Scotland is helping to bring learning to the learner where, when and how people want to learn. This approach an our commitment to the future of Gaelic will help to ensure that Gaelic continues to enrich the lives of generations to come."
Frank said, "Gaelic is an integral part of Scotland's heritage and we are aiming to try and sustain and develop this. We want to give more people the chance to be able to speak some Gaelic. We aim to offer bite-sized chunks of learning that will attractive to Scots wanting to try their traditional tongue. Learndirect Scotland exists to promote learning opportunities throughout Scotland. Our free phone helpline, 0808 100 9000, has received over 100,000 calls in its first nine months. Our website, www.learndirectscotland.com has had more than 1.3 million hits. These figures illustrate the thirst for learning in Scotland and we hope these taxis will help encourage more Scots to try learning Gaelic. We are delighted to be teaming up with Sabhal Mòr Ostaig to promote Gaelic throughout Scotland."
Donnie said, "Sabhal Mòr Ostaig is delighted to be working in partnership with learndirect Scotland to create new opportunities for the million Scots who have expressed an interest in learning Gaelic. Many Scots are linked to the language, through their family history, through the names of the places where they live and through their interest in the musical and cultural heritage of Scotland. Gaelic forms a very important strand of that heritage and, in partnership, we hope to provide an opportunity for those who want to take their interest further."
The two taxis have courses like computing, engineering and art and design displayed in Gaelic on their bodywork.
The Glasgow taxi will run in the Partick area and the Edinburgh taxi in Leith.
The taxis were liveried by Allied Media of Glasgow, a division of Allied Vehicles Ltd that provides taxis to the cab
trade throughout the UK.