Isla McDonald, a talented teenager from Coalburn, South Lanarkshire, has been able to follow her dream of a career in music, thanks to support from Hamilton based employer, Banks Renewables.
Banks Renewables’ Connect2Renewables initiative is a partnership with South Lanarkshire Council. It helps local people into employment through training, advice and financial support.
Isla McDonald, 19, is one of more than 300 local people already receiving help from Connect2Renewables as she studies for an HND in Music Performance at the Academy of Music and Sound in Glasgow.
Having won a place on the course, Isla found it was only part-funded by the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) and faced losing her place.
Funds through Connect2Renewables are covering the shortfall in fees which means Isla can do the course. Connect2Renewables is also helping her pay her transport costs.
Robin Winstanley, external affairs manager, Banks Group, said: “Stories like Isla’s really make us proud of our Connect2Reneweables collaboration with the council.
“It’s important to us that our projects deliver meaningful benefits to local communities in which they are located. We wish Isla the very best in her career and look forward to delivering more benefits through Connect2Rebeweables.”
Isla, a former pupil of Lesmahagow High School, said: “From a young age, I have been obsessed with music, I live and breathe it! After a careers event at my school in S4 where I met some of the guys from the academy, I was determined to take my passion for music to the next level.
“Having access to the funding has allowed me to attend the college that is best suited for me. As someone who has learning difficulties, I find larger classes and locations difficult and my college is the perfect size to allow me to get all the help I need.
“The fund also helps me pay for the travel costs of travel from what is quite a remote area.
I plan to finish my HND course this year and continue on at the Academy of Music and Sound, to achieve my BA and receive my degree in music. I hope by then to be performing full time and making a living from something I love.”
Councillor Gladys Miller, Chair of South Lanarkshire Council’s Finance and Corporate Resources committee said: “The initiative is delivered by the council and Banks Renewables as part of Banks’ commitment to the South Lanarkshire economy and its communities, and operates alongside a variety of other local initiatives.
“Isla’s experience is one of hundreds of successful stories so far, and a key example of the type of circumstances that the fund can consider supporting.
“I am delighted that the initiative has been able to make a real difference to the life of such a talented young person, and I, for one, can’t wait to see what she does next.”
Banks Renewables launched its Connect2Renewables Charter in 2014, with the support of South Lanarkshire and local communities in the area. The Charter sets out how Banks will maximise the social, economic and environmental benefits resulting from the firm’s windfarms in South Lanarkshire.