What We Do

Our experience in further education and skills, and the stories of our member organisations, learners, teachers and support staff, has shown us the impact of further education on individuals, communities and organisations. We want to emphasise this impact and help it go further. As a result a fourth area of the Group was formed: our Foundation.

Launched in May 2019, the Foundation champions social mobility in the further education and skills sector, highlighting the role further education and skills providers play in transforming people’s lives.

The Foundation does this by:

Becoming a voice for and raising the profile of social mobility

Engaging in project-based activity and research

Providing grants to learners

Recognising organisations, staff and learners for their work in improving social mobility

Grant Funding

The Foundation provides grant funding for our members, to be used to support their learners. Our grants are designed to help learners overcome social barriers and to enable them to advance their skills in education. We will support applications from individuals that demonstrate their commitment and willingness to achieve. The types of grants we will support include contributions to:

  • Educational resources
  • Transport costs
  • Living costs
  • Childcare
  • Educational events such as; organised visits, seminars which support learning outcomes etc.
  • Recreational activities such as; organising student union events, attending a sporting activity etc.

Grants range from £200 through to £1,000 depending on the individuals circumstances. We also support grant applications that support group-related educational opportunities.

Start Your Grant Applications

To be considered for grant funding learners will need to complete the Learner Grant Application Form and have a Grant Application Endorsement Form completed from a representative within the college.

Grants FAQs

  • Who is eligible for grant funding?

    Any learner from a member organisation can apply for a grant.

  • How does a learner know if their grant application has been successful?

    Learners will be informed by email if their application has been successful. If more supporting information is required we will contact the learner directly or the member organisation via email.

  • How do you apply?

    The learner will need to complete the Learner Grant Application Form and a representative from the organisation will need to complete a Grant Endorsement Form. Links to these applications can be found at the bottom of this section.

  • How long does it take to process applications?

    We aim to process all applications within 14 working days. We will keep applicants informed if there any delays.

  • How long is the grant application open for?

    The grant application is presently open-ended, but this can change at any time. Please keep an eye on our website.


The work of further education organisations, staff and learners in improving social mobility deserves recognition. That’s why we’ve decided to host an annual awards ceremony to celebrate the achievements of our member organisations, centres, providers, their staff, and their learners.

This year’s Awards evening was delayed due to COVID-19. It will now be held at the Leicester Marriott Hotel on the 5 May 2021.

Nominations for this year’s Awards are open and a deadline will be announced later in the year. If you need help with your application contact our team or download our Awards booklet here.


Inspiring Learner of the Year

Any learner from any Skills and Education Group member organisation can be nominated for showing a clear passion for learning and determination in the face of adversity, and inspiring others to overcome challenging personal circumstances to make great educational achievements.

Submit your nomination

Outstanding Staff Member of the Year

Any staff member from any level of our member organisations can be nominated for positively impacting others through teaching or assessment excellence, outstanding learner support or helping others.

Submit your nomination

Social Impact Award

Any Skills and Education Group member organisation can be nominated for making the greatest contribution to social mobility by achieving excellence in helping to transform lives by providing excellent work experience opportunities to help learners into careers, working with marginalised individuals or offering projects that benefit the wider community.

Submit your nomination

Skills and Education Group Awards Centre of the Year

Any Skills and Education Group Awards Centre can be nominated for exceptional learning provision, including outstanding qualification delivery and assessment, excellent support for learners and the improvement of learners’ life chances through education.

Submit your nomination

Certa Access Provider of the Year

Any Certa Access Provider can be nominated for transforming the lives of learners by giving them a gateway into higher education through high-quality teaching and assessment, effective support of learners from disadvantaged backgrounds, and successful progression of learners into higher education and beyond.

Submit your nomination

100 Faces of Further Education

Further education plays a vital role in creating a more just and equal society. However, it cannot fix inequality alone.

With the COVID-19 pandemic likely to entrench inequality even further, there is a need to understand how we create a more equal society through further education and skills.

That’s why the Skills and Education Group is today launching the 100 Faces of Further Education. This project aims to provide insights into the barriers and successes of achieving social justice by telling the stories of students and staff from across our membership.

Do you have stories to share?

We want to identify stories from your organisation that fall into the following categories:

  • A scheme that aims to deliver social justice through education for a particular group of students or the community
  • Personal stories from students or staff that highlight negative experiences in further education and skills in relation to their circumstances and the impact of those experiences on their education or employment
  • Personal stories from students, staff, employers or community members that highlight successful interventions within their further education experience.

Across the Group, there are factors that are specific to different providers, such as supporting students from rural locations or working with certain groups of adult learners. We are keen to capture the experiences that are unique to individuals at your organisation.

What will the stories be used for?

The collection of stories will be published in a report in early 2021. This report will make parliament, policy makers and the wider public aware of the impact of further education and skills on social justice.

We’re keen to hear from your learners!

We would like to hear from your learners. We want to understand their concerns regarding COVID-19 and their education. We encourage them to complete this short survey Their answers will help us to get a good idea of how learners are feeling about their education during these difficult times. As a thank you for their participation, they will be entered into a draw to win a £50 Amazon voucher that can be used to purchase resources to support their studies. The survey is open to non-members.

Get involved

To find out more about the project please contact either Katie Shaw, a consultant working with the Skills and Education Group, or Scott Forbes, Director or Member Services and Communications.

Work We Support

The Foundation is pleased to support several initiatives that champion the advancement of skills and education to improve the lives of individuals. To find out more about the initiatives we support visit their websites: