Land-based bursary enables a career change for Andy

Today Andy Finlayson is in his dream job: working hands on with nature, breathing fresh air, embracing the elements. But it wasn’t always so. Andy has the City & Guilds Group bursary programme to thank for enabling him to change career and turn his life around.

Land-based bursaries

When Andy was made redundant in his mid-thirties after 16 years working as a printer, it could have stopped him in his tracks. Instead, he viewed the break as an opportunity to take his life in a different and more fulfilling direction.

With a long held passion for the great outdoors, he set about researching courses and qualifications that would allow him to re-skill and open the door to career options he knew he would enjoy.

Andy was initially concerned that his financial circumstances might hold him back from his chosen course – a diploma in Countryside & Environment – but an internet search led him to the City & Guilds Group Bursary Programme. Andy submitted an application and was soon invited to interview. He was over the moon when he found out his application had been successful.

Speaking about the impact of being awarded a bursary, Andy says it has literally changed his life. “Initially it gave me confidence in myself as I had to be able to sell myself to the interview panel and convince them to invest in me,” he said. “The fact that I was chosen for a bursary gave me further confidence that changing my career in my mid-thirties was the right move.”

Had he not been awarded this financial support, Andy is not sure where he would be today. The programme has enabled him to diversify his knowledge and employment prospects by gaining a new qualification and developing a range of new transferable skills.

One year on, life couldn’t be more different - Andy is now a self-employed conservation worker and thoroughly enjoys going to work every day. New opportunities are now open to him, for which he would not have been considered without a relevant qualification.

For more information about the Group’s bursary programme click here.

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