Foundation Scotland has distributed more than 900 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 £150m of funding to more than 12,000 organisations making a difference the length and breadth of the country. From local foodbanks 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.
Erin (pictured above) said: “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.”
Rachel Searle from Foundation Scotland added: “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.“
For more details, visit www.foundationscotland.org.uk