Arts Derbyshire


QEST: Funding available for artists and craftspeople

QEST: Funding available for artists and craftspeople

The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) offers scholarships of up to £18,000 for the training and education of talented craftspeople.

The Trust want to sustain vital skills in traditional and contemporary crafts and contribute to excellence in the British craft industry. For each successful scholar QEST will also fund a place on a Professional Development Programme, run in partnership with Cockpit Arts.

Sessions will be held via Zoom on Tuesday afternoons (4.00 to 5.30pm) between December 2021 and March 2022, and scholars are expected to make every effort to attend.

Applications are now open until 5pm, 16 August 2021.

Read more here


About the Scholarship

Who can apply?

The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) scholarships are available to fund the education and training of any individual UK resident, aged 18 or older, who would like to improve their craft skills.

They welcome applications from all talented craftspeople, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or nationality; and particularly encourage those with protected characteristics that are under-represented in the craft sector to apply.

What do they fund?

QEST funds traditional college courses, vocational training or one to one training with a master craftsperson.

The Trust want to support excellence in British craftsmanship so are looking for established makers, planning to stay in the UK and contribute to the craft sector.

They encourage applications from a broad range of crafts and are excited by contemporary craftsmanship and innovative applications of traditional craft techniques. To see the types of craft they have funded, and the standard of excellence they are looking for, please review their Directory.

In addition to training costs, QEST can cover costs directly related to your training such as transport, equipment, materials and accommodation as long as it is proportionate to the grant request.

QEST cannot fund:

  • Anything that is not related to craft
  • Retrospectively, meaning they will be unable to cover anything you have already paid for
  • Business start-up costs

Please note that the Trusts funding is based on your training plan. If your training plans change at any point please let them know as this may impact your funding.


Writing your application

QEST’s application process is competitive and cannot fund every application they receive. With this in mind, here are some tips to help. When writing your application, be clear and concise.

The application form is split into 8 sections: About You; Qualifications; Career History; The Scholarship; The Future; Images and References; Equal Opportunities; Declaration.

The headings below will give you advice on how to answer key sections of the application form.

  • About you
    This section will ask for your personal details, along with your website and social media accounts. Please only include these if they are dedicated to your craft or you feel they are relevant.
  • Qualifications
    In this section you should include any qualifications that are relevant to your craft, as well as any relevant awards you have received.
  • Career history
    This section asks you to list previous employment, and you should only include past work experience you consider relevant. You may also want to include volunteer work, commissions or residencies.
  • The Scholarship
    Please briefly state the purpose of your Scholarship. This is your first opportunity to let the Trust know what you plan to do with your scholarship funding. You should clearly explain what you would like to do with your scholarship funding and why, in a few lines (250 characters). Please describe in more detail the activity you will be undertaking and please describe the benefits of investing in this activity. This section is for QEST to see if the training you have planned is suitable. Make sure to include what you plan to learn (you can also include transferable skills that may not be directly related to craft). Spend some time thinking about why you want to complete this training and make sure explain your reasoning when describing the benefits of investing in this activity.
  • Costs
    QEST want to support applications that make an impact and therefore they expect the minimum funding request to be around £2,500. Your budget should be realistic and based on research, quotes or previous experience. You can include anything you might need in order to complete your scholarship. Make sure your request is reasonable and well considered. It’s important to remember: QEST cannot fund retrospectively (i.e. if you make an application in July for a course in September, the interviews are held at the end of October so we would not be able to fund the course). The primary purpose of your application must be training and education. While other associated costs e.g. travel, accommodation, materials etc can be covered, they expect applications to predominantly be for costs relating to training. QEST do not support applications that solely request materials, equipment, transport and accommodation. If in doubt, please contact the Grants Officer to discuss your application.
  • The future
    How will the development of your skills positively contribute towards your area of craft in the UK? (1,000 characters). This section gives you a chance to showcase your career to date and display your knowledge of the field. Think about your achievements to date as well as gaps in the market or an area of your craft that is currently overlooked. Will you reinvigorate or sustain your craft or pass on your skills and knowledge? Explain how this training will help you to contribute to the UK craft sector. What would you like to achieve within the next five to ten years? (1,000 characters). Outline your long term goals; they should be well defined and realistic. You should make sure to explain why this scholarship is an essential stepping stone and how your career will develop as a result of your training.
  • Images and references
    You will need to upload 5 images of your work. Make sure the images you attach are high-quality, between 2-4MBs in size, and highlight the full range of your skillset. The Trust will ask for a description of each image, please very briefly explain what is in the photo and the materials used to create the piece.
  • Images MUST be your own work (include close-ups/ detailed photos)
  • Please upload images as JPGs or PDFs
  • Images must be no larger than 4MB (between 2-4MBs works best)

Scholarship applications MUST include two references or letters of support, ideally from a tutor or client you have worked with (if applicable) as they can speak about your existing skills and back up your training plans.

Please note that if your application is successful QEST may use these images to promote your scholarship on our website and social media platforms.


How QEST assess your application

All applications are reviewed by a group of experienced Skills Assessors who work in specific craft sectors. The assessment is a three-stage process, culminating with a short-list for interview.

When they assess your application form, the Trust will consider:

  • Your existing skills
  • Your commitment and understanding of your craft
  • The training itself
  • How the Scholarship will impact your career


What happens after you apply?

QEST will be in touch approximately two months after applications close to let you know the outcome of your submission. If positive, you will be invited to an interview at the QEST office in London.

You will be notified as to whether your application has been successful within two weeks of your interview.


Your future with QEST

Successful applicants will be invited to the QEST & Royal Warrant Holders’ Association (RWHA) Annual Luncheon in early June to showcase their craft, meet fellow QEST Scholars and Apprentices, network with QEST donors and supporters and celebrate becoming a QEST Scholar.

Now part of the QEST family, you will continue to receive occasional news updates and invitations from QEST to participate in events and projects, which may include: scholar socials; opportunities to showcase, demonstrate and exhibit; business skills workshops as well as networking events with QEST supporters and Royal Warrant holding companies.

You will be featured on the QEST website and in their magazine as an alumnus of QEST, and are encouraged to continue to share your news with QEST for possible inclusion in future magazines and on our social media platforms.

For more information, browse their Stories here.


Next steps

The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust are open for applications twice a year, in January and July.

Please note:

  • For applications made in January/February, successful applicants will be informed of the award in May. For applications made in July/August, successful applicants will be informed of the award in November.
  • If your application is unsuccessful and you did not reach interview, you may reapply in the next round.
  • If you reach the interview stage and are unsuccessful, the Trust will ask that you wait a year from the date of your application to reapply.


If you are still unsure about applying or have any questions, please contact QEST. Members of the QEST team are more than happy to answer queries and support any access needs you may have.

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