Up to 50 freelancers are to be taken on as tutors for primary schools, where they will lead cultural workshops on Scotland’s traditional languages and dialects, as well as music, drama, dance and visual art.
A shadowing scheme will help them develop assistant tutors, who will go on to deliver the workshops as part of the primary school curriculum.
Gaelic arts body Feisean nan Gaidheal will deliver the programme in the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland, as well as on islands in Argyll and Bute, Highland and North Ayrshire.
The University of the Highlands and Islands will support the tutors, leading to accreditation for their work.
Jamie Hepburn, minister for further and higher education, youth employment and training, said: “Many freelancers have experienced considerable financial hardship due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“On top of this, we know many touring musicians will also face challenges due to the UK’s exit from the EU for some time to come.
“This new programme will offer valuable retraining and employment opportunities for creative freelancers to work across all of our 93 inhabited Scottish islands.
“Not only will school children get to learn more of the rich cultural diversity across our island communities, this project will also help promote Gaelic, Shetlandic and Scots languages and local dialects distinctive to islands such as Orkney.
Arthur Cormack, chief executive of Feisean nan Gaidheal, said the organisation was “grateful for support from the Scottish Government in delivering this new programme which will help freelance creative practitioners recover from the economic effects of the pandemic”.
He added: “Training will be an important part of the programme with the aim of increasing the resilience of freelancers and better equipping them to work in school settings in the future.
“All primary schools across our islands have been presented with an exciting opportunity to enable local artists to work with one year group, delving into local culture integral to our island communities.”