Vickie Heaney – An ornithologist print maker needs training too
Like most artists and islanders, Vickie has always looked for new ways to earn money by diversifying her business. She recently spent a week on the mainland attending three separate courses to add more strings to her bow. She travelled as far as Margate for a print making and infographic courses. The latter will come in use when she presents findings from her research projects. In addition to sketching birds and sea life from her studio on the Isles of Scilly, she works as a researcher in the Antarctic.
The types of courses she attends aren’t cheap. She recently attended a five-day course on safety and evacuation theory for cruise ships based in Falmouth. While she could afford the classes, the travel and accommodation made it too expensive. The Access to Travel Fund covered nearly £600 in travel costs, including accommodation in Cornwall. Vickie is now certified to work on cruise ships, leading bird tours around the world.
While Vickie has found most of her training on her own accord, The Skills Hub provided the support to make it happen. They not only provided the funding for her travel and stay on the mainland, they have helped her figure out what skills she needed to take her business in the direction she wanted.
“It’s useful to talk through your business, your plans. It makes you consider your strategy, important elements of your business you might not be brilliant at, maybe tax or finance,” says Vickie.
As one of the first Scilly businesses to take-up the Access to Training fund, it’s interesting to understand why Vickie thinks other business owners might find barriers to reaching out to business support groups like the Skills Hub.
“Maybe they think it’s more difficult than it is, an administrative burden so to speak. I’ve received support through many funding streams, some more complicated than others. But there was very little paperwork needed with the Skills Hub and they helped with all the necessary reports.”