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East Midlands Chamber News

Education charity SkillForce gets £1.6m budget boost

National education charity SkillForce is set to expand its work in schools and recruit more ex-Services personnel following a £1.6m budget boost.

The announcement was made as part of the Chancellor George Osborne’s Spending Review, on 25 November and will be funded by the Libor banking fines.

The charity runs a range of programmes which support young people in 200 primary and secondary schools in England, Scotland and Wales, preparing them for their next steps in education, work or training.

SkillForce, based in Edwinstowe, Nottinghamshire, will receive the cash injection over the next three years.

Ben Slade, Chief Executive, said: “Our ambition is to be the leading provider of character education and resilience training in the UK education and skills sector. We are delighted with this significant cash injection from the banking fines budget, which is a strong endorsement of the work we do to transform the lives of so many young people and veterans across the UK.”

He added: “As a result of this announcement, we will be able to recruit more veterans and support their transition from the military into civilian life and work with thousands more children and young people to give them the self confidence and belief to succeed. Some are stuck for a variety of reasons including bereavement, mental health and chaotic home lives. Others need encouragement to ensure they fulfill their potential.”

SkillForce draws on the skills of predominantly ex-Services personnel who now wish to serve their community and inspire young people to succeed. Instructors deliver motivational mentoring and proven education programmes which develop self confidence, resilience and character to improve pupil attendance, behaviour, aspirations and achievement.

Character education is emerging as an area of interest nationally. A recent report by the cross party think tank Demos highlighted growing research evidence, detailing not only how non-academic factors such as resilience, grit and empathy can have a profound impact on young people, but also how they can be actively developed through interventions inside and outside the classroom.

Mind Over Matter, published in October 2015, states that academic success, wellbeing and mental health depends not just on what young people know, but on the development of their character, social intelligence, social and emotional skills, and a range of other non academic traits and capabilities.