The City & Guilds Group

The City & Guilds Group announces first round of Skills Development Fund investments

Press Release   •   Jan 07, 2016 12:32 GMT

The City & Guilds Group has announced it is providing two grants to charities – AfriKids and St Giles Trust – the first two investments from its £5m Skills Development Fund. The Fund, which launched in September 2015, supports projects and communities to create long-term, sustainable change by improving skills across the world.

London-based St Giles Trust has been awarded £100,000 over two years to support the development of its peer mentoring ex-offender employability programme in Leeds, London and Ipswich. Through its peer mentoring programme, former offenders will be trained to help other ex-offenders into employment. The charity was established in 1961 and is now one of the leading charities focused on rehabilitation and prevention of offending.

AfriKids was established in 2002 with a mission to protect and promote child rights in one of the most deprived areas of Ghana. Its work includes investing in the skills and employment of young women to help lift their communities out of poverty and provide opportunities for the next generation that don’t rely on aid. It has been granted £63,225 for one year to provide training loans and mentoring support for 20 young women in teaching and nursing in Ghana. The loan repayments then support more women into the programme, creating a sustainable funding model.

Speaking about the investments, Dr Ann Limb CBE DL, Trustee of the City & Guilds Group and Chair of the Skills Development Fund Committee said:

‘When we created the Skills Development Fund, we envisioned investing in high-impact projects that allow more people across the world to develop their skills and contribute to their local economies. AfriKids and St Giles Trust are both amazing organisations that do exactly that. We’re honoured to be contributing to and supporting their work.’

Amy Parker, Chief Executive of AfriKids said:

‘AfriKids is empowering the next generation in northern Ghana to lead their families and communities out of poverty and into a brighter future for everyone. We are absolutely delighted to be partnering with the City & Guilds Group to help young people access training in teaching and nursing so that they can transform their own futures.’

Rob Owen OBE, Chief Executive of St Giles Trust said:

‘This is fantastic news and will strengthen our peer-led approach of putting ex-offenders at the centre of the solution by training them to become skilled, professional caseworkers. The City & Guilds Group gives us the chance to take this further through offering them employability support. This will help them make that all-important transition towards full-time paid employment – the step on the road to full independence.’

For the first year, the Fund is investing in projects around three key themes:

1.Supporting women and girls to develop their skills

2.Preventing offending and re-offending

3.Promoting positive skilled labour mobility

A Sub-Committee of the City & Guilds Group is responsible for allocating funds, following a thorough due diligence process. Both charities are expected to deliver measurable and lasting benefits to the individuals they support. The next round of investments will be announced following the next Committee meeting in March 2016.

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Notes to editor

About the City & Guilds Group:

  • The City & Guilds Group is a global leader in skills development. Its purpose is to enable people and organisations to develop their skills for personal and economic growth.
  • Backed by a Royal Charter, the City & Guilds Group has more than 135 years’ worth of experience in making sure that people are prepared to contribute to successful businesses and thriving economies.
  • The City & Guilds Group partners with more than 200 companies to develop the skilled workforces that they need, and invests in learning technologies to help people learn whenever and wherever they can.
  • The City & Guilds Group is made up of City & Guilds, the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM), City & Guilds Kineo and The Oxford Group:
  • City & Guilds develops programmes of learning, learning technology, certification and assessment, to support colleges, training providers and governments.
  • ILM helps individuals, education providers and businesses improve the standards of leadership and management through qualifications, accredited training and specialist member services. ILM awards qualifications to over 95,000 managers across the world every year.
  • City & Guilds Kineo is a global workplace learning company. It offers a fresh approach to elearning management systems, apprenticeships and managed learning services.
  • The Oxford Group provides bespoke management training, leadership development and executive coaching to the world's leading companies.
  • Combined, the City & Guilds Group operates in over 80 countries, through 10,000 training centres, delivering qualifications in 26 different industries.
  • For more information about the City & Guilds Group visit:

About the Skills Development Fund

  • The new £5m fund will allocate money on a case-by-case basis, following proposals submitted on a quarterly basis.
  • To receive funding, projects meet the following criteria:
  1. create long-term and sustainable change in the development of skills, measurable by clear outcomes
  2. allow the City & Guilds Group to make a unique contribution that adds value to the project
  3. deliver real benefit to the education and training sector, employers and/or individuals
  4. represent the communities in which the Group operates across the world 
  5. adhere to clear and practical timescales.
  • Proposals for funding will be commissioned by the Sub-Committee, rather than through an open application process. 
  • Funding for the first year will be focused around three themes:
    • Supporting women and girls to develop their skills
    • Preventing offending and re-offending 
    • Promoting positive skilled labour migration
  • All funds will be awarded by a Committee of the City and Guilds of London Institute Trustee Board.
  • The next set of proposals will be reviewed in March 2016.

About St Giles Trust
St Giles Trust works with offenders and disadvantaged people to help them rebuild their lives. It works in prisons and in the community reaching around 15,000 people each year. Its services offer practical and emotional support through a peer-led approach of using people who have lived experience of the issues facing their clients. It provides a range of services across the UK. This includes specialist services for young people, vulnerable women and disadvantaged families in the criminal justice system.

About AfriKids

AfriKids is a partnership between a UK charity and a Ghanaian Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), working together to improve life for northern Ghana’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged children. AfriKids’ work focuses on the Upper East Region of Ghana where 8 in 10 people live in poverty and 1 in 9 children die before their 5th birthday. Work includes supporting children and families with:

  • access to healthcare
  • access to education
  • livelihood security (in the form of loans and training to grow household income)
  • child protection (refuge from neglect/abuse and long-term residential care where absolutely necessary)
  • rights and advocacy (educating communities and working with partners to end harmful traditional beliefs and practices like child marriage and the Spirit Child Phenomenon)
  • social enterprise (investing in local businesses to create jobs, provide services and generate funding for the charity)

In 2014, AfriKids directly supported 190,582 people and 78p in every £1 donated was spent on the delivery of its life-changing projects. AfriKids is working towards complete local sustainability – when 100% of its operations will be led and managed by AfriKids Ghana. AfriKids is International Charity of the Year 2015 (Charity Times Awards)

More information can be found at or by calling 0044 207 269 0740