As the end of 2022 fast approaches, the team at the City & Guilds Foundation took some time to reflect and share their top highlights and achievements from the last year and moments to be proud of.
“Thinking about what we’ve collectively achieved over the past year, it is really incredible and just goes to show what you can do with brilliant, passionate people who constantly pull together – and challenge each other – to do the best they can. A particular highlight for me has to be seeing some of our prison grants finally take off and deliver the impact we always knew they could, but which had been held back by pandemic restrictions keeping prisoners locked in cells for 23.5 hours a day. With everything from simulator technology to virtual reality headsets, to rail tracks, to ‘Green Skills’ bootcamps, lots of the inmates supported have now been released and working with top employers all over the country. Big thanks to our partners and especially the trainers on the ground that are without a doubt the most important piece in this complex puzzle of reducing reoffending.”
“One highlight is so hard to pick, but I am going to go with our first ever Foundation social impact report. The report beautifully captured the difference we’re having on the people who need it most in society. A team effort in creating, it really brought to life why our interventions with individuals, charity partners and employers are so important. To already be able to say that for every £1 we spend on bursary funding, we deliver almost £5 social return on investment is significant. I am so proud to be a small part in making sure we prioritise this work – not just in the Foundation team, but across City & Guilds.”
“My highlight of the year was seeing City & Guilds joining the community of industry leaders taking action on climate change. In 2022 we have done our greenhouse gas emissions inventory, designed a roadmap for reducing our footprint to net zero, and joined the United Nations Race to Zero initiative. Being part of this global movement is so exciting. We are only just beginning, with such a key role for City & Guilds in providing skills and education for sustainable development and enabling a just transition.”
“It’s certainly been a year of contrasts – sitting looking out on a snow-covered garden that only a few short months ago was parched by the hottest period on record! During the year, The City slowly started to come back to life after lock-downs but is still a long way off being back to normal. In-person events began again – with not one but two notably successful Princess Royal Training Award presentations during the year. Last week saw the new venue of the Banqueting House provide a very suitable and historic backdrop whilst earlier in the year we were hosted by the Lord Mayor at Mansion House. Both splendid occasions and together with visits by the Princess Royal to Awardees illustrating the power and impact of royal patronage in this Coronation year.
The new King has been vocal in his support of craft and technical skills and personally I am delighted that we have fostered relationships with a wide range of craft-based organisations and are being pivotal in ensuring equity of access to those skills and opportunities. Our re-established link to the City & Guilds of London Art School is particularly pleasing especially as we help them re-engage with their local community.”
“I have a highlight which happened just last week. We held our Princess Royal Training Awards 2022 ceremony, and after 5 years working on the awards and being in the same room as HRH at these award ceremonies, I finally got to meet and chat with her! That was a really special moment for me and the team, who normally are in the background of these things, and just making sure everything runs smoothly. Following that day, we also tweeted about the event in which the Royal family re-tweeted (on this rare occasion) and it received over 2000 likes and counting. I mean that pretty much sums up my highlights and what a lovely way to finish off the year feeling this proud!”
“Joining the team has been a big highlight for me to be closer to our purpose and seeing really the impact of our work in helping give opportunities for people to succeed through skills development. My other highlight has been our work in the Neurodiversity space. We ran our first Train the Trainer event just after I joined in conjunction with Do-It Solutions for our partners in the offender/reoffender space and are planning our next one to happen very soon. We have just finished gathering data for our first Neurodiversity Index report to be published early in the New Year. We aim to benchmark how neuroinclusive workplaces are and to highlight best practice for enabling everyone to be successful in the workplace.”
“Looking back on the year, I found it difficult to pick just one highlight – so I won’t! The development of our advocacy work as a whole has been a real highlight for me, I think most importantly how we have truly embedded the importance of lived experience in our events, comms and projects. Not because it is a ‘nice to have’ or because it brings in better engagement, but because we recognise that those who often have their voices missing from the conversation, are those we need to listen to most in order to make meaningful change. Working on and hosting our initiatives supporting carers, refugees and young people to name a few has made me immensely proud.”
“I’d say I’m most proud of the work we’ve done improve and embed diversity, equity and inclusion into programmes. We’ve made continuous improvements to our bursary programme this year which has seen a big increase in people from underrepresented background being awarded funding, which has been based on race, sexuality, gender identity, disability, and age, as well as if they’re from areas of social deprivation or a woman in a typically male dominated industry. For the last year, 91% of our bursary recipients were from these underrepresented groups, which is way up from only 63% at the application stage.
We’ve also launched a new accessibility tool for our website, which accommodates for neurodiverse individuals, those who are visually impaired, includes free language translation, and a host of other features, making our website more inclusive than it has ever been before.”
“The highlight of 2022 for me has definitely been joining this brilliant team in June! And what an adventure it’s been so far! I’ve been able to see what fantastic programmes and projects the Foundation Team are involved in. The bursary programme has been so rewarding to be involved in. Knowing that we are really making a difference to people’s lives in helping people in genuine financial need access training programmes so they can develop skills for meaningful employment. I thoroughly enjoy help facilitate this process from start to finish and love to hear our applicants’ stories through case studies and individual’s feedback.”
“I have two highlights this year: working with our charity partners on digital best practice and working with Mike Ormand on the Foundation’s digital presence, revamping our website to allow us to support everyone to succeed, no matter who they are or where they come from.
Helping our charity partners on digital best practice has been really fulfilling as there are some quick ways to really add impact digitally to their programmes without costing a fortune. I have worked with partners such as St Giles, CIPD Trust, The Launchpad Collective and others to share how we have approached this at the Foundation by using off-the-shelf systems that are GDPR-compliant and easy to use.
I’m also very proud of our revamped Foundation website that we built inhouse, meaning we have more money to fund our charitable initiatives. I hope you enjoy our new-look City & Guilds Foundation website and if you have any feedback or want to work with us, please get in touch.”
From all of us at the City & Guilds Foundation, we’d like to wish you Happy Holidays if you celebrate, or a great break if you don’t. We wouldn’t have been able to achieve what we have through 2022 without your continued support, and look forward to what we can do together in 2023! All the best for the New Year.