Funding for projects advancing equality, diversity and inclusion

23 October 2013

41 education and training organisations across England have been funded to deliver projects that will advance equality, diversity and inclusion in adult learning. The successful providers are being funded by the Skills Funding Agency’s Equality and Diversity Innovation Fund, managed by NIACE.

As a result of the fund, a diverse group of providers will be delivering a wide range of projects across the country, ending in June 2014.

  • In the North West, Kendal College will provide specialised master-classes and augmented reality to support its students with mild learning difficulties or disabilities in entering their vocational skills into the WorldSkills competitions. The students will be supported in a number of ways, including overcoming the barriers they face regarding personal presentation and dealing with face-to-face questioning.
  • Babcock Training recognises that as future employers, managers and employees, apprentices need the skills and knowledge to deal with equality and diversity correctly both in the workplace and in their everyday lives. The project will develop new equality and diversity teaching and learning modules – including role-related, thought-provoking scenarios to challenge awareness and understanding – that will be used nationally.
  • In London, Prospects Services recognise that religion and belief can influence training, career and education choices. With support from equality and diversity champions, the project will train National Careers Service advisers to provide impartial, practical careers advice that take religion and belief into account, fosters better relations and reduces bullying and harassment.
  • The Reach Out Theatre Collective in Stratford-upon–Avon, will tackle barriers to accessing the performing arts for Black, Asian and minority ethnic learners, culminating in a celebration of the project’s achievements through its inclusion in Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday celebrations and a promenade performance in the Fringe and River Festival next year.

A total of 243 bids were received to the fund, which was open to organisations in England whose primary function is as an education and training provider or a National Careers Service Prime Contractor. The projects that have been funded will finish by June 2014, but their impact will continue to be studied by NIACE and the Skills Funding Agency until 2015.

Kim Thorneywork, Chief Executive of the Skills Funding Agency said:

“We are delighted that these grants have been awarded and thank all who applied. The number of applications demonstrate that the sector is rising to our equality and diversity challenge.

“I hope that these valuable projects will help those who are under-represented or disadvantaged in learning, reach their potential in life.”

Carol Taylor, NIACE Director for Development and Research, said:

“We are pleased to have been chosen to act as a trusted partner in managing the Equality and Diversity Innovation Fund. It is evident from all the previous funds we’ve managed that even a small amount of funding can make a huge difference to providers.

“This latest round of funding from the Skills Funding Agency will help transform the futures of some of the most under-represented people in society by supporting them to progress. The 41 successful projects are giving people the chance to innovate, to develop new partnerships and to develop strategies to engage and support diverse groups.”