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

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. 1.Supporting women and girls to develop their skills
  2. 2.Preventing offending and re-offending
  3. 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.

For more information, click here.