The Luminate Education Group, a group of education providers in Yorkshire that includes Leeds City College, Keighley College, and Harrogate College, has a Platinum membership with the Skills and Education Group.


Through their membership, Leeds City College have access to grant funding through the Skills and Education Group Foundation. Recently, some of their adult learners studying childcare qualifications have benefited from Learner Grants provided by the Foundation.


We got in touch with Sophie Sutcliffe, Study Support Coach at Leeds City College, who supported the learners with their grant applications, to find out more.


How will the funding be used? What impact will it make?


“The first learner received £450, which she used to purchase a laptop after previously having to use her phone to complete her college work. She was unable to stay at college to complete work after hours due to parenting responsibilities and relied on the college bursary and universal credit since her husband stopped working in 2021 due to ill health. The laptop benefits her whole family and has been used for schoolwork, job applications and accessing other online services.”


This learner completed her course with us in July and is now progressing on to an Early Years course with the Leeds City College Adult & Community provision, a progression which was made possible in part by this funding.


“The second learner received £500. She was also unable to access college outside of teaching hours due to being the main caregiver to two young children. Her family were not supportive about her college course, meaning she had to complete housework and caregiving duties before she could do college work. She was therefore having to do this late at night on her phone despite concerns about her eyesight.


“This learners’ husband sends over half of his salary to his widowed mother in Pakistan and the family have been in financial hardship since arriving in the UK. The learner accessed the college childcare support funding for the 2022-23 academic year but needed additional support to attend exams. With the support of the grant, the learner was able to get an eye test, pay for an improved Wi-Fi connection for the final months of her course, attend exams and begin saving towards a laptop. This learner has now completed her course, passed her English GCSE, and is beginning a Foundation Degree in Supporting Teaching and Learning at University Centre Leeds.”

I am so grateful for the childcare and financial support I received - otherwise it wasn’t possible for me to study. With all the support and care I received, I am able to move on in life and progress to higher education. Thank you so much for everything.

— Learner Grant Recipient, Leeds City College

What do your roles as EDI Champion and Funding and Innovation Champion involve?


“Being an EDI Champion involves being the departmental spokesperson for issues relating to equality, diversity and inclusion. This can be about staff wellbeing; ensuring students are represented; improving the accessibility of our campus and courses; and bringing to light any ideas or good practice at the six annual EDI Champion meetings. I enjoy this role as I am constantly learning and improving my knowledge and practice after hearing from other EDI Champions across the Group. I also find responding to staff and student queries about EDI issues on an individual level to be very fulfilling.


“Innovation Champions across the Luminate Education Group also meet regularly to share best practice and opportunities for funding (for staff, students and resources). Innovation Champions are responsible for disseminating information about funding to relevant staff and supporting colleagues with applications. I am new to this role and the applications to the Foundation that I supported were the first I have done, but I am looking forward to improving my bid writing skills and supporting more students in the future!”


Apply for grant funding through our Foundation


The Skills and Education Group Foundation offers financial support to learners, staff and education providers, with the goal of expanding access to education, accelerating social mobility and building a fairer society.


We offer Learner Grants, Action Research Grants, and Resource and Facilities Grants. Staff and learners at any organisation with a Silver, Gold or Platinum Skills and Education Group Membership can apply for grants.


Through our Learner Grants, Action Research Grants, and Resources and Facilities Grants, we have given over £230,000 since 2019.

Apply for grants through our Foundation