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When Willow Walker saw the Low Carbon Skills Fund online she made her application almost immediately.

Sole-trader Willow, 57, runs her own East Lothian-based organic fruit business: Wild and Scottish. The nature of her work means she needs a sound awareness of ecology and the environment.

Sustainable harvest

 “I collect wild harvested fruit from the coast in East Lothian and make some of it into fruit juices. Some I sell from my own shop and some I sell to restaurants. I saw a Permaculture training course and realised it was something I had to do if I was serious about the business” Willow explained.

As her work carried an environmental impact, Willow had to gain approval from East Lothian Council’s environmental department. Having been put through the Permaculture training course, she got the green light from the council and was able to fully immerse herself in the business.

She said: “The course was very helpful and it has given me the ability to learn very complex bits of knowledge about the local ecosystem, which have really served my business well. If I was to self-fund the training I would have had to wait for a lot longer to be able to do it.”

Through the Fund Willow had half of her training costs paid for her, which enabled her to get things moving a lot sooner than she originally anticipated. Having taken her business a significant step forward, she is now noticeably ambitious about the future.

Future expansion

“I really want to expand Wild and Scottish, there is so much I would like to do. Hopefully I can involve more people and could bring in some employees. Wildlife is something I’m really passionate about and to be able to run an outdoor-based business, that serves people’s needs but is also eco-friendly, makes me really happy.”
Willow Walker, Wild and Scottish

The Low Carbon Skills Fund allows for businesses with fewer than 100 employees access of up to £5000 towards the costs of training.

Having only used up around £500, Willow could put herself through more training if it became a business need in the future.

What's next? 

Find out if the Low Carbon Skills Fund is right for your business.