Applications for our Vocation Grants Programme are now open and we are encouraging young people who are embarking on apprenticeships to apply for grants of up to £1,000.

To be eligible for this programme applicants must have a parent or guardian in receipt of one means-tested benefit, have lived in Wiltshire for two years and be under 25 at the time of their application.

Grants can be used towards costs that college or school funds do not cover such including educational resources or equipment, out of school activities which contribute to learning, course-related study or field trips, IT equipment and travel costs - in some circumstances.

Commenting on the programme our Grants Officer Nicola Hillier said “The grants do make a real difference particularly when money is tight and a student needs to buy expensive equipment, take part in course-related field trips or activities that help their learning. We know there are many young people embarking on apprenticeships who would really benefit.”

Young people who have already received support include:

Jacob Freeman, 16, received £450 to buy gardening equipment. He will be starting a horticulture course at Wiltshire College Lackham in September and has also been looking at apprenticeships.

Katie People from Swindon received £500 for brick-laying tools to help on placements while studying at New College.

Finola Cullimore was awarded £500 to help with her farming studies. The 18-year-old, who lives near Warminster, will begin a foundation degree in agriculture business management in September.

Finola, who wants to become a dairy farmer, used the grant to pay for an artificial insemination course while she was studying for a level 2 NVQ at Kingston Maurward College in Dorchester. She said: “I’m really grateful for the grant. Having this qualification makes you so much more employable and it’s a skill you have for life. It’s the difference between getting a general farmworker’s job and one as an assistant herdsman.”

Wiltshire Community Foundation joint chief executive Fiona Oliver said: “We have seen many times over the years we have been running this grant programme the enormous help it can give a young person in following their chosen career.

“It’s a very flexible grant and we will consider any educational or training use. Anyone who is not sure can email us at info@wiltshirecf.org.uk to talk to one of our grants team.

“It has been a tough 18 months for young people and many have seen their education disrupted. We hope these grants are one way of helping them get back on track and following their dream.”

The deadline to submit an application for consideration in November is 30 September. Full criteria and a link to the application form are available here

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