Publishing success for Education & Training Fund grantee
With declining local employment opportunities in the Avonbridge and Standburn, Limerigg and Slamannan, and Blackridge communities there are high levels of unemployment amongst the 5,000 residents. With low levels of private car ownership and limited public transport, many are unable to access work, training and education opportunities that are any distance away.
In an effort to increase future employment opportunities the Burnhead Moss Education and Training (BMET) Fund was established. This was made possible thanks to EDF Renewables who established the Burnhead Moss Community Benefit Fund following the opening of the local wind farm in 2015.
This new fund focusing on education and training enabled residents to apply for financial support to pursue further qualifications. These could be long or short-term courses in further education, vocational training or higher education that could ultimately increase their job prospects.
Kieron Baird is 31 and lives in Avonbridge. He heard about the Fund through the local Outreach Worker, who supported him to find a suitable accredited course that would help him continue his personal development and aspirations to have his creative works published.
Due to long term health issues, attending conventional classroom-based study would have been difficult for Kieron. Returning to education after many years was also a daunting prospect, but with the support provided by Fund, he felt he ‘had nothing to lose from trying something new’ that could help him develop his creative writing professionally.
He was awarded two grants in 2019 to fund Blaze Creative Writing distance learning modules at Strathclyde University’s Lifelong Learning Centre. With the course fees paid directly to the university, Kieron didn’t have to worry about any overwhelming administrative or financial constraints.
Kieron deserves huge congratulations for his achievements. It’s great to see the BMET Fund playing a key part in unleashing people’s talents, skills and interests
Malcolm Jack, Community Funds Manager at Foundation Scotland
The results... a published author
Kieron would not have been able to complete these modules without the financial help of the Fund and encouragement from the Outreach Worker. The Fund has given him the opportunity to take the next steps with his writing. Kieron stated that ‘The course allowed me to learn more of the fundamentals of creative writing and develop my confidence as a writer’.
He has now gained the courage to set up his own writer’s Facebook page to promote his short stories and poetry, as well as join a range of writing groups.
Having now completed the 3 creative writing modules with Strathclyde University, Kieron has successfully had some of his works published both online and in print. His work was recently included as part of the Edwin Morgan Centenary Collection (Speculative Books) and StAnza Poetry Map of Scotland (Scotland’s International Poetry Festival). His poem ‘A Toast to our Artisans’ was also read on BBC Radio Cumbria – The Arty Show in November 2019.
Kieron hopes to build upon his recent success and progress onto further courses and projects in the future.
You can follow Kieron’s work on Facebook or Twitter at @KieronP.Baird.