Dan Simons's blog

Community Learning Innovation Fund 'Projects in a Box'

The Community Learning Innovation Fund (CLIF) was a £4 million grants fund from the Skills Funding Agency, administered by NIACEdefinition, which funded 96 community learning projects in 2012/13. The projects have now published 'Projects in a Box' listed at http://www.niace.org.uk/sites/default/files/documents/clif/CLIF-Projects-2012-13-with-PIAB-links.doc. These include all the information and resources needed to replicate the project. They may be of particular interest to EDIFdefinition projects because of their lessons learnt, and also for ideas on how to report on impact. Several of them had particularly strong equality objectives. For example:

Unionlearn and National Apprenticeship Service research reveals gender stereotyping in apprenticeships

Women apprentices are far more likely to end up in low-paid jobs as a result of training in female-dominated sectors, according to new research published today (Wednesday) by unionlearn – the TUC’s learning and skills organisation – and the National Apprenticeship Service.

The study shows that while there has been a large rise in the number of women taking apprenticeships over the last ten years, many end up working in female-dominated sectors, such as early-years childcare and hairdressing, where wages tend to be lower and where there is less chance of career progression.

The report, Under-representation by gender and race in apprenticeships, warns that gender stereotyping is dissuading young women from pursuing careers in traditionally male industries.

The study also raises concerns about the low number of black and Asian people taking apprenticeships, especially in higher-paid sectors such as engineering and construction.

As well as highlighting areas of concern the report also identifies examples of good practice that have helped overcome gender stereotyping.

These include one employer providing two-week ‘taster courses’ for women thinking of applying for construction apprenticeships and ‘girls into engineering’ days where female students can visit a local refinery, meet female staff, and take part in practical tasks associated with the job.

The report recommends:

ESF equality awards


Three of this year's ESF Equal Opportunities and Sustainable Development Mainstreaming Leader Awards 2013 were focussed on equality in FEdefinition and skills. The awards were presented at Birmingham NEC on 14 November.

  • One of the joint winners of the ESF Equal Opportunities Mainstreaming Leader (policy and plan) Award was Michaeljohn Training School, which offers apprenticeships in hairdressing . The project has developed strong equality policies which are user friendly and fully integrated into the daily working lives of both their apprentices and the training providers at the school.
  • The ESF Genderdefinition Equalitydefinition Leader Award went to Sheffield City Council and the Youth Association for South Yorkshire (YASY) for their Make a Move (MAMS) and MAMS Too projects, which provides support for disadvantaged young people in Sheffield. The projects provide specialist help for young people on housing, debt, relationships, money management and preparing for work.
  • Finally, one of the joint winners of the ESF Equal Opportunities Specialist Project Leader Award was Telford and Wrekin Council's Turnaround Project. The project used extensive research and engagement to attract young people in NEETdefinition unemployment ‘hot-spots’.


Full details- including presentations from some of the projects- are available at http://www.dwp.gov.uk/esf/news/mainstreaming-2013.shtml

EDIF projects working with Forum for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Equality in Post-School Education

Yesterday, we brought together a group of colleges and training organisations leading Equalitydefinition and Diversity Innovation Fund projects, with members of the Forum for Sexual Orientation and Genderdefinition Identity Equality in Post-School Education (https://sgforum.org.uk/), to share resources and ideas, and to offer support. Excitingly, this year we have eight EDIFdefinition projects focussed on sexual orientation and gender identity equality, more than ever before. Details of all the projects are available at http://www.equalitiestoolkit.com/content/explore-edif-sexual-orientation-projects and http://www.equalitiestoolkit.com/content/gender-reassignment-projects.


I found it particularly inspiring to meet three of the learners involved in the projects. One young woman spoke eloquently about her experience of coming out as bisexual at school, and then as pan-sexual at college. She discussed the challenges of overcoming cyber-bullying and harassment, and her aim of setting up peer-to-peer mentoring and support groups to help others. This seemed to me a great model of learner involvement.


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