A training grants policy has now been agreed by the board, with a total budget of £10,000 – £5000 for individual applications, and £5000 that can be applied for by businesses who have to provide training to meet regulations (both types are up to a maximum of 50% of course fees, and £500 per person per year). The full policy and criteria can be found here.
In summary, grants will be available for work related courses (subject to available budget) to residents of Westray who are working or available for work, and who aren’t in full time study. There are slightly different criteria for people wishing to obtain a full drivers licence. Where other training funding is available (such as Individual Learning Accounts or Flexible Training Opportunities), this should be used first. Both businesses and individuals can get help from the CDO to fill in the forms required.
The Sustainable Rural Development course is proving very useful to CDO, Corinne, and she has passed another two modules in this course. The next level of study is going to include in-depth research on any aspect of sustainable development, so its a chance to investigate something of direct benefit to Westray.
As part of her study (UHI Sustainable Rural Development), Corinne Curtis, Community Development Officer for Westray, visited Tiree and spent some time with Tiree Community Development Trust, and other organisations, investigating how they worked to achieve their community goals, and how their community development officers assisted in that. It was a very interesting visit and as well as the study reports, a lot of other interesting information was brought back. Huge thanks to all the people from the Tiree Trust and community for their willingness to provide so much information and make this visit so useful.
Janette Mackie, the Get IT together coordinator for Orkney (a citizensonline project) is keen to involve Westray folk in a very informal learning to help people get the most out of the internet. A number of opportunities have been planned for people to talk to her, and pick up new skills. Kalisgarth residents had the chance to try using ipads to view photos, and secondary school students were keen to learn more about projects such as “Internet Rangers”.
More information about the BT sponsorship of this project can be found in this link
The board have agreed to pay the costs of a survey for the Learning Centre.
David Knight from the Big Lottery was on Westray on Thursday 5th July to carry out an inspection of the projects that they funded. He was very complimentary of the success of the projects which included the turbine, fuel poverty, learning centre, golf course, biofuels and waste.
A Westray Outreach Centre was established in Autumn 1998, with a local learning sub group meeting regularly from November 1999 and working towards establishing a dedicated space for the Outreach Centre. Acute pressure of use on the school and community premises was requiring a constant juggling of resources and it was recognised that the facilities needed to be accessible and available when people wanted to use them. Some of the other priorities for new premises included:
– To ensure resources are adequate for projected levels of use
– To provide a private video enabled interview space
– To provide a quiet study space for students
– To lower the threshold of accessibility and establish more regular opening times
– To encourage an opportunity for users to progress and learn new skills
– To create an ambient atmosphere and environment for all users.
This was all achieved when the Westray Healthy Living Centre opened in 2006 incorporating a learning centre and videoconference room.
Initially, the Westray Outreach Centre was recognised as a UHI learning centre, and over the years has involved a partnership of various agencies including Orkney College, Orkney Enterprise (now Highlands & Islands Enterprise), OIC Education Department and Westray Development Trust.
In 2007 Westray Development Trust included the Learning Centre as one of its five key community development projects linked to the turbine project, to be funded by Big Lottery. The additional funded hours (a further day per week) contributed to a big increase in both the use of the Learning Centre and the number of additional courses delivered locally, which had been the major priority. The Big Lottery project ended in Mar 2010.