Wind farm community fund helping career aspirations
TWO local women are following their work dreams thanks to a local wind farm community fund.
Zoe Farquhar and Louise Todd, who both live near Halkirk, are the first beneficiaries of a scheme to allow community benefit money from the Bad á Cheò Wind Farm to be given to individuals for training to increase their employment potential.
Budding kiltmaker Zoe is set to further her training in Keith after completing an introduction to kiltmaking course there.
She realised that there is a demand locally for handmade kilts for participants in Highland dance schools as well as sympathetic repairs to older garments, and decided to tap in to that market.
She said: “My aim after completing the SQA in kiltmaking is to start up my own business.
"Hundreds of local dancers are having to purchase their outfits outwith the area. I am delighted that I will be able to provide a much-needed service locally.”
Louise has been successfully compiling accounts on a freelance basis for several years, but without a professional qualification. This is about to change as she embarks on the AAT Level 3 Advanced Diploma in Accounting in Orkney.
She said: “Upon completing the course, I will have the skill set to successfully undertake senior accounting tasks.
"I will be awarded AAT bookkeeper status which will give me the added confidence to expand my business.”
Hopefully people will be able to see the tangible benefits of applying for a helping hand.
The Bad á Cheò Wind Farm Community Fund is being managed by Foundation Scotland on behalf of the funding panel. Caithness-based Foundation Scotland community co-ordinator Eilidh Coll said: “Now that we have made the first two awards, hopefully people will be able to see the tangible benefits of applying for a helping hand to do a course or undertake some training.
"As Zoe and Louise have shown, local people could improve their life chances and potentially gain new or different employment."
Katy Woodington, community investment manager with innogy Renewables UK, which operates the wind farm, said: “Innogy is delighted with this flexible use of wind farm funding.
"As the first two awards highlight, these small education and training awards can have a major positive impact, socially and economically, on the lives of Caithness residents.
"Zoe and Louise will soon be equipped with a range of skills that will not only increase their employability, but also provide a service locally that currently is not available.”
Click here for more information about the community fund.