News story

SFA grant success in supporting equality and diversity developments

Equality and diversity inclusion fund results in greater awareness and raises the profile of new equality strands.

The Equality and Diversity Inclusion (EDI) Fund, funded by the Skills Funding Agency and former Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS), has successfully enabled greater awareness and raised the profile of new equality strands, new research has found

The research, by the Institute for Employment Studies (IES), found the projects contributed to mainstreaming equality and diversity into everyday practice and across curricula, to support the FE sector to meet the Public Sector Equality Duty.

As a result of the funding, colleges and training organisations reported increases in the confidence and skills of their learners, and greater engagement in learning and society.

The report covers 87 projects funded between 2010 and 2013. Skills Funding Agency-funded providers were invited to bid for between £1,000 and £25,000 to deliver projects.

Examples of the types of projects include:

  • National Star College’s WorkAble project addressed barriers faced by people with disabilities who wish to work, train in the workplace or carry out work experience. They achieved this by training a team of disabled former learners to carry out workplace audits, to support employers to become more disability confident
  • Prostart Training’s Passport to Success programme addressed the under-representation of men on Business Administration Apprenticeships by giving one-to-one sessions on employability and interview skills.
  • Students from City College Plymouth produced a training film for the NHS, to raise awareness of children at risk of sex trafficking. The film was later used by Kent and Essex police forces to educate their officers, and by the Church of England.

The research further found that projects have encouraged good practice across the sector. As well as benefits for learners, they have also involved businesses and local communities. The support offered by LSIS and the Agency was found to be critical to ensuring that projects stayed on track and had opportunities to disseminate their good practice throughout the sector.

As a result of these positive findings, the Agency has decided to fund a further round of grants with a focus on embedding and sustaining good practice. A prospectus will be available by the end of September for Skills Funding Agency-funded colleges and training organisations to bid for up to £30,000 to deliver six month projects. The Fund will be managed by the Equality Challenge Unit on behalf of the Agency.

Resources and information from projects funded in 2013 to 2014, managed by the National Institute for Adult and Continuing Education (NIACE), are available at (