Scotland’s renewable energy sector funds over £1 million in Education and Training Grants
Growing numbers of Scottish communities are setting up dedicated Education and Training grants programmes across Scotland, thanks to community benefit funds provided by the renewable energy sector and onshore wind farms.
Foundation Scotland has been able to support the distribution of more than 900 of these grants, worth over £1 million, since the first Education and Training fund was established in 2015.
These funds have been specifically set up to support individuals with costs that are a barrier to accessing college or university or to cover expenses for training programmes and skills improvement that help them enhance their employment opportunities.
Foundation Scotland has to date distributed over £150 million of funding to more than 12,000 organisations making a difference the length and breadth of the country. From local food banks and counselling services, to youth groups and training funds, they have awarded over 44,000 grants to charities, social enterprises and community groups across Scotland since they were established in 1996.
However, support for individuals seeking to take that ‘next step’ to fulfil their employment potential is less well-known.
Despite most university places being free in Scotland, the cost of attending can be prohibitive for many young people. Erin Morrison from Eastfield in North Lanarkshire recently received funds to help with rising costs relating to studies. Erin is now studying for a BEng in Civil Engineering and is the first person from her family to go to university.
She successfully applied to the Harthill, Eastfield and Greenrigg Education & Training Fund for a total grant of £3,300, which will be split into three payments during her university course, helping to subsidise many of the costs relating to studying.
“I attended a school in a deprived area and was greatly affected by the SQA grade awarding system from 2020. Due to the lack of school funding, there are also very limited opportunities for students like myself. But I am now studying Civil Engineering at the University of Strathclyde, and I am the first person in my family to go to university.
“However, there are so many additional costs. The fund has been a big help to me, it definitely takes the pressure off. You really don’t understand how expensive textbooks are for university, there’s quite a lot that you need. Many people don’t take that into consideration, so it has really helped me out.”
Kyle Waddell, 20, from Limerigg, Falkirk received over £3,000 in funding for two driving courses and is now in demand as a fully-qualified HGV Driver. The funding was provided by the Burnhead Moss Education & Training Fund (BMET), provided by EDF Renewables, and facilitated and supported by Foundation Scotland.
Kyle said, “The support I’ve received from this fund and from Foundation Scotland has been brilliant – absolutely life-changing. I’ve received two grants in total. The first award paid for the fees for my HGV Class 2 driving course, which at over £1500 I just couldn’t have covered myself. The course was fantastic, and I was able to get a full-time job driving lorries straight away. Then earlier this year I applied again, this time to cover the costs of the advanced HGV C +E course which I am due to start soon. I will then be qualified to drive articulated lorries and this will definitely increase my employment prospects and earning potential. I can’t wait to get started, my career prospects are much better now I’ve done these courses. I’ve not looked back!”
Rachel Searle from Foundation Scotland said:
“When individuals are supported to unlock their potential through training programmes and education, not only do they benefit, but the local economy does too. The majority of those who have been awarded funds would otherwise not have been able to access support to further their career goals. This untapped talent lives in every community, and this type of fund is helping individuals and communities to flourish and grow. Foundation Scotland will continue to support and promote these localised education and training opportunities as a key way to ensure community benefit funds reach into the heart of communities.“