– in the Scottish Parliament on 23rd January 2019.
7. To ask the Scottish Government how many staff employed by Caledonian MacBrayne are resident in the Western Isles. (S5O-02795)
CalMac Ferries Ltd is a major employer in our island and coastal communities, employing 242 staff who reside in Skye, Raasay, Lewis, Harris, the Uists and Barra.
Alasdair Allan will be aware that CalMac proactively undertakes work in schools and at career fairs in our island communities to encourage people to think about doing an apprenticeship with the company; it also has a cadet programme. CalMac is always keen to encourage island-based locals to apply for jobs at the company.
I am always more than happy to encourage more of the people who reside in our island communities to consider applying for those posts and to look at ways to support that further. I will ensure that my ministerial colleague Paul Wheelhouse, the Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, gives further consideration to the issue and to whether further measures can be taken, as Alasdair Allan has suggested, to increase the number of people who live in our island communities and are employed by CalMac.
Will the cabinet secretary confirm that, notwithstanding the valid point that my good friend and colleague Alasdair Allan has made, the CalMac headquarters will remain in Gourock in my constituency?
CalMac gave me a firm commitment in its bid for the Clyde and Hebrides ferry service contract to retain its head office in Gourock, and it is an integral part of the community in Inverclyde, where it employs 266 people. I assure Stuart McMillan that we are keen to ensure that communities with close links to CalMac maximise the benefits from them, not only in his constituency but in those of his parliamentary colleagues in our island communities.