Vocational grants of up to £1,000 from Wiltshire Community Foundation help young people follow career dreams
Grants of up to £1,000 available from Wiltshire Community Foundation could help boost the education prospects and life chances for young people for families struggling in the cost of living crisis.
The community foundation’s Vocational Training Grants are available to eligible young people up to the age of 24 to support the costs of vocational courses at school, college or sixth form or for training through an apprenticeship.
Luke Horn (pictured), 17, needed a laptop, chef’s whites and a set of professional knives when he was accepted onto a Level 2 Professional Cookery course at Bath College, but his mum Lucy couldn’t afford to support him and the money he earned working part-time wasn’t enough.
“I work really, really hard. I have two other children at university, and their student loans don’t cover all their financial needs,” she said. “So the lack of funds towards fundamental items can get you down. You see your children’s potential and you want to give them more financial support but you are unable to and choices have to be made.”
Luke’s grant paid for all the equipment he needed and a year on he has a distinction in his theory and his practical work. He is also working part-time in the kitchen of the Michelin-starred Longs Arms in nearby South Wraxall.
“You can just see his motivation and it has been quite a lovely thing to see all this blossom in him,” said Lucy. “He was able to do his homework in the library on his laptop and there has been a lot of online course content so without it, it would have been tricky for him.”
The former pupil at St Laurence School, Bradford on Avon, will now study for a Level 3 Professional Cookery at Bath and has ideas about doing a business degree before going on to work in a top kitchen and one day open his own food outlet.
His mum said: “The grant made a huge difference to Luke, getting accepted for it was very motivational, it gave him belief, and the grant interview was brilliant because it got him to think about his plans and his life and where he’s going, so that was quite important as well.”
Kathryn Gadd received a grant to enable her to study the Level 3 BTEC in Creative Media Practice at New College in Swindon in order to follow her dream of working in the film industry. She lives in Royal Wootton Bassett with her two siblings and her single mum and was unable to afford to help her buy a new laptop and camera for the course.
Said Kathryn: “The grant definitely helped me brilliantly, because I wouldn’t have had those finances otherwise to progress as far as I was able to in my course. Using the equipment I was able to get with the grant helped me to produce and film more and higher quality projects.
“It definitely helped a lot more than I would have been able to do on my own so I’m very grateful.”
She is now studying for a degree course in film studies at New College. “It’s something I’m really passionate about and being able to do the first course has really helped me,” she said.
Wiltshire Community Foundation joint chief executive Fiona Oliver said: “These grants can really open doors for young people who have the talent and determination to make the most of an opportunity they might otherwise be denied because of the cost. It’s so heartwarming to hear stories of how the grants help our beneficiaries make the most of their opportunities.”
“The grants have been used for tools, equipment, specialist clothing or study trips in the past. Grants manager Nicola Hillier said: “The list is by no means exhaustive and we’d love to hear from anyone who isn’t sure whether their own needs could be covered by the grant so we can discuss it. We want this programme to be as inclusive as possible.”
Applicants must be under 25, have lived in Wiltshire for at least two years and have one parent in receipt of one means-tested benefit.
Applications are open now. Find out more about the grants and apply at wiltshirecf.org.uk/grants-and-support/individuals/
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