Skills Development Fund

Measuring the impact of the Skills Development Fund after two years

Our Skills Development Fund is a £5m investment in projects which transform individuals and communities through developing skills. The Fund supports projects which further our Group purpose – of helping people, organisations and economies to develop their skills for growth.

The Skills Development Fund is a £5m investment in projects which transform individuals and communities through developing skills.

The Fund supports projects which further the City & Guilds Group purpose – of helping people, organisations and economies to develop their skills for growth.

The Skills Development Fund (SDF) is a proactive commissioning grant maker, which actively identifies organisations or programmes that deliver against the Fund’s mission and key themes.

It seeks to make highly strategic and restricted grants, making commitments over the long-term (three-to-five-years typically). The SDF will fund both new and proven interventions, which deliver against its objectives.

Measures of Success

The evaluation framework, designed by Cranfield and the City & Guilds Group, looks through Need, Input, Output & Outcomes, to assess 3 potential impact areas:


Impact on beneficiaries

So what?

Social Impact

  • Participants are 3.3 times more likely to be employed at end of the programme.
  • Based on average expected outcomes without intervention, an average of 21% of participants would be employed, but having been through the programmes, 69% are employed.
  • Funded programmes will also report on employment a year after, to show longer term impact.

Economic Impact

  • 5 Programmes able to demonstrate earnings potential as a result of skills development or qualifications received.
  • Varies by UK vs Overseas & whether professional qualification is offered
  • 30% increase in UK & 300% overseas average

In reality: Near East Foundation

Skills to build a new economy

Asma is one of 635,325 Syrian refugees in Jordan.

Previously a nurse, Asma & her family are from Homs, Syria. After their home was destroyed in 2013, she, her husband & three children fled to Jordan.

Although they found informal work cleaning & cooking, they were unable to meet the family’s basic needs. NEF taught her business skills & gave her a grant to buy a fridge, giving her the ‘push’ she needed. 

Asma’s household has seen a 50% increase in income & her cooking business continues to grow. The family has now started to save some money for the future and emergency expenses.

“I have a stronger personality now. I want to make sure my product is perfect, unique, and different from the other products in the markets.”

In reality: AfriKids

Professional skills needed most

Afrikids provides access to professional training through loans in Ghana where skilled medics are desperately needed.

Sheila is 26 & born in rural in northern Ghana, where more than half of families live in poverty. She and her five siblings were initially enrolled in school, but when her father passed away, the family struggled, surviving on subsistence farming. When Sheila was unable to afford training beyond one year, AfriKids covered costs for her 2nd & 3rd years. Sheila has passed all of her exams, at the AfriKids Medical Centre & is awaiting a job posting from the Ghana Health Service.

“The support I received came at a time I really needed it and I am now a qualified midwife. I hope to repay my loan soon to enable other vulnerable girls to benefit from the support when they need it.”

In reality: Generation Storm

A stable path to employability

‘Generation STORM’ provides young women at risk in South London skills & mentoring by ‘Special Team Of Role Models’.

Fatin is 16 and showed signs of extreme aggression and shyness when she joined Generation STORM. She had rarely spent time in the company of other females given her college was made up of 75% males. Fatin used to show off about her run-ins with the police and the fights she had with other girls, using this as a defence mechanism to interact and make herself seem ‘cool’ to others.

Since joining, Fatin has grown in confidence, using sport and positive affirmations to help her make changes to her behaviour. Due to her hard work she has been selected to go on a volunteer trip to India because of how far she has come.

“Before I joined the programme, I was impatient and had really bad anger issues. Half-way through the programme everything started to change. Now I am ready to start an engineering apprenticeship and feel less angry and more confident.”

Wider Society


The impact initiated by the
Skills Development Fund has
had a ripple effect globally

The wider role of skills development

Proven Successes’ Wider Influence

  • Global Governance
    ILO using Guidance developed through NEF/ C&G programme, available to 187 countries.
  • Country Government Policy
    Change Foundation focuses programme & campaign for care leavers.
    Ghanaian Government changing funding policy for midwives & nurses.
  • New qualifications
    Peer Advisers Accredited Training.
    Leadership and Social Enterprise .
  • Clear focus on need & solution
    One size doesn't fit all – investment in understanding group & working through solutions pays off .
    Replicable model of Peer Advise & Learning
    Tools + Support approach offers learning for CGG.

Sustainable Development Goals & the Skills Development Fund

GOAL1: No Poverty
GOAL3: Good Health and Well-being
GOAL4: Quality Education
GOAL5: Gender Equality
GOAL8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
GOAL10: Reduced Inequality
GOAL17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal


More than money.

Supporting the Skills Sector

From an early stage, the Skills Development Fund invested in developing knowledge on how to effectively increase skills. These early stage investments have enabled new learnings &  innovative pilots.

Two Key Ingredients

Cranfield analysis shows that support from the Skills Development Fund enables grantee charities to provide:

Tailored Support

  • Ready for work as much as Employability
  • Behavioural change
  • Emotional Resilience
  • 1:2:1 Mentoring
  • Peer Advice valued
  • Resource intensive; social change

Skills Activation

  • Practical support and guidance
  • Business skills & planning
  • Loans for start-ups & training
  • Work experience & tasters
  • New Qualifications
  • Higher economic return per beneficiary

Different programmes, common learnings

The City & Guilds Group can draw learnings

Developing Confidence, Positive Attitudes & Belief Before Skills

Allow flexibility to spark creative approaches, qualifications & ripples

Engaging those most in need by demonstrating & leading by success

Tailor approach to specific need & work back from the change you want to see

Year 2 Impact Summary

  • The Skills Development Fund enables charities to provide both: tailored support & training to develop skills AND tools to accelerate change
  • Together, grantees and the City & Guilds Group have a collective understanding of developing skills & access to employment among those most in need
  • 4,554 have been supported to develop skills, doubling since last year & expected to rise to 7,436 by the end of this cycle of £1.4m funding.
  • Significant indirect impact on 18,172 people already, rising to 30,807 people
  • Likelihood of employment x3.3, Potential earnings up significantly – with wider contribution to economic growth & cycle of unemployment
  • Triggered significant long term impacts – models of peer learning, focus on care leavers, Ghanaian funding policies, influence into ILO

For more information see our website