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River Avich Hydro Education & Training Fund

Grant size Up to £1,650
Argyll and Bute
Key dates  
Deadline: Applications can be submitted at any time.

About this fund

This fund provides bursaries for individuals living in Inverinan, Lochavich, Dalavich, or Kilmaha seeking to improve their employability prospects or develop a new career. Awards can support participation in a range of courses, from short non-certificated courses to post-graduate degrees.

Starting in 2021, the fund is being provided by Awesome Energy Dalriada (AED), owner and operator of the River Avich Hydro-power Scheme. AED is a community benefit society set up and run by the local community to develop and operate the hydro scheme.  River Avich Hydro Education & Training Fund is part of River Avich Hydro Community Benefit Fund.

There is no fixed amount of funding available to the fund in any year. The amount available is decided in June each year by local anchor organisation Dalavich Improvement Group and depends on AED’s profitability and other financial commitments each year.

Levels of grants available

Maximum bursary levels for courses other than driving lessons/ tests are as follows: 

Course Year 1 Year 2  Year 3
Modern Apprenticeship £1,650 £1000 £220 (day-release)
NC, HNC, HND, Degree £1,650 £1000 £1000 (full-time)
Other (not full-time) Up to £1,650 Up to £1000 £1000

To see the geographical areas the fund covers please click here to view a map of the River Avich Hydro Community Benefit Fund Area. Support for driving lessons and tests may be offered at up to the following amounts: 

Lesson (max 10) £35 £350
Test Fee - Theory £23 £23
Test Fee - Practical £62 £62
Travel and subsistence to attend practical test £16.50 £16.50
TOTAL   £451.50

Purpose of this fund

Bursaries are available for individuals seeking to improve their employability prospects or develop a new career. The fund aims to support local residents in gaining the skills and confidence required to enter or retain employment in the following sectors:

  • Management of natural resources, including (but not limited to): energy industry; water industry; forestry and timber technologies; agriculture (including crofting); environmental conservation; estates management; aquaculture/fisheries management; equestrian, and; other land-based industries
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Digital (STEMD)
  • Construction and related trades, for example, electrical, plumbing, joinery, health & safety
  • Tourism and hospitality
  • Food and drink
  • Rural development and community development
  • Health and social care
  • Education
  • Creative industries
  • Other sectors generating benefits for the local community
  • Other education and training that enhances employability and the success of micro (1-10 employees) and small (11-50 employees) sized businesses, including skills in setting up or growing a business. Examples include marketing & sales, IT & web development, managing staff, accounts / financial management, entrepreneurship and business planning, business services.

Bursaries can support a wide range of courses, full or part-time, including driving lessons/tests, Modern Apprenticeships, Foundation Apprenticeships, NC, HNC, HND, undergraduate degrees, postgraduate qualifications (but not PhDs), and short vocational courses.

Bursaries can cover any of the following costs where these will help you attend your chosen course:

  • Travel: bus or train fares, petrol (If you are under 22 years old you are eligible for free bus travel through the Young Scot initiative. This should be used in the first instance and other transport costs will only be considered if your course cannot be accessed by bus.)
  • Subsistence: meals, etc.
  • Childcare
  • Driving lessons (up to 10) and driving theory and practical tests 
  • Study aids (e.g. laptop, software, stationery, books)
  • Technical aids/equipment (e.g. specialist clothing related to the course, tools, other specialist equipment)
  • Course fees not already being paid for from elsewhere
  • Accommodation costs

The level of grant offered will depend on the course you are looking to attend and your circumstances, including any bursary that may be available through Skills Development Scotland, Student Awards Agency for Scotland, a local college fee waiver or bursary, or elsewhere.

Additional criteria

Courses leading to formal, recognised qualifications (and with SVQ ratings) will be favoured. However, other courses will also be considered where you can demonstrate how the skills and knowledge gained will realistically support you in securing or retaining a job or in setting up your own business.

Given the rural nature of the area, the fund will offer support towards travel, subsistence, and childcare cost up to £8.25 per day for courses of one year or more in duration (full or part-time) and up to £16.50 per day for courses of up to one year, up to the maximum figures set out above.

Support towards the cost of study aids or equipment related to courses of one year or longer may be up to £660 in the first year of an award, within the maximum figure set out above. Such costs will only be supported where the study aids or equipment are considered essential and integral to the course but must be purchased separately (i.e., not covered by course fees) and are reasonable value for money. Study aids or equipment other than books will not be supported in relation to courses shorter than one year.

Who can apply?

Applicants to this fund must be individuals aged 16 or over who:

  • Are taking, or thinking about applying for, an education or training course (including apprenticeship) to gain new / improve skills linked to employability (including re-training for a new role or retaining their current role)
  • Are ordinarily resident within the following postcode areas (and not ordinarily resident elsewhere in the UK) PA35 1HN; PA35 1HL; PA35 1HH; PA35 1HJ, and PA35 1HS. A map of the area can be found above in the About this fund section.
  • Require some financial support to help them attend and /or study. Although applications will not be means-tested, information on personal circumstances will be requested. Still, it will only be considered in the event of high demand on the fund and once applications have been assessed against other fund criteria.

You can apply for a bursary before receiving a formal offer of a place on the course. You will, however, need to supply evidence of acceptance on the course as a condition of any award offer. If you are offered a bursary for study over multiple years, you must provide evidence of course completion each year before we release your next payment.

What can’t be funded?

The fund cannot meet any costs already covered by a school, college, the local authority, or another awarding body such as an industry trade body, Skills Development Scotland, or Students Awards Agency Scotland.

How are decisions made?

Award decisions are made by Foundation Scotland. Once you have submitted your application, we will phone you to have a short discussion about your chosen course, your circumstances, and the costs you need help with. We aim to notify you of the decision within four weeks of receiving your application.

Frequently asked questions

  • Can I apply for an award if I am already employed?

    If you are currently employed, we understand you may wish to progress in your employment or pursue a new career. It may be that you employer will benefit from the skills and knowledge you gain through the course, or that they in fact require you to take the course. In such cases, we will ask you whether your employer is willing to contribute a reasonable amount towards the course fees and potentially other costs you will incur. If they will not, we will need to know why.

  • Can I apply for the costs of a course I am already taking?

    We can accept applications from students already on courses of one year or more, but we will not make grant payments towards costs relating to any period before the application was received. We cannot accept applications towards the costs of a short course (less than one year) if you have already started studying.

  • Can I apply for more than one bursary?

    Repeat applications for bursaries may be considered. However, if you have not completed a course or apprenticeship that we funded you to attend previously, we will ask why and seek evidence that the new course is the right one for you.

    Individuals may apply for a bursary towards the costs of driving lessons and a driving test (theory and practical) at any time and even where they have applied for, or are already in receipt of, a bursary towards the costs of other study in that same year. 

How to apply

Applications can be submitted using the link below. However, if you are applying towards the costs of a short course (lasting less than one year), we must receive your application before your course starts.

If you would like to review the questions you will be asked to answer before starting the form, you can see them here.  

Please allow up to four weeks for your application to be processed. If you need a decision more quickly, we will do our best to process your application immediately but cannot guarantee this.

Contact information

For application process and technical enquiries

Central Systems Support

For criteria and fund priority enquiries

Debbie Herron Community Funds Adviser

Useful links

  • Careers advice and training course listings are available from Skills Development Scotland (SDS) (My World of Work

Information about other potential sources of funding: 

Bus passes: 

Fund news