From education to employment

Irish community charity receives funding from the City & Guilds Group’s £5m Skills Development Fund

An Cosán Virtual Community College (VCC), a Dublin based charity, has secured £90,000 of funding from the City & Guilds Group’s £5m Skills Development Fund.

VCC is a new development which builds on the work of An Cosán, a community education centre that has served the community of Tallaght West for 30 years. VCC was set up to provide distance learning that is both accessible and relevant to learners who have not benefitted from mainstream education. 

The charity will receive the funding over two years for their Social Entrepreneurship and Leadership programme (SEL) which will reach 36 women, with the aim of rolling it out across Ireland afterwards. The programme aims to deliver training for leadership, social enterprise development and community sustainability to women who have been disadvantaged through unemployment, underemployment and lack of access to further or higher education. 

The City & Guilds Group launched the Skills Development Fund in September 2015. It supports projects and communities across the world to create long-term, sustainable change through skills. Grants have previously been awarded to four charities across the UK and Ghana. These charities are: Afrikids, St Giles Trust, The Change Foundation and Global Generation.

Speaking about the investments, Dr Ann Limb CBE DL, Trustee of the City & Guilds Group and Chair of the Skills Development Fund Committee said:

‘One of the aims of creating the Skills Development Fund was to allow more people across the world to develop their skills and contribute to their local economies. An Cosán’s Virtual Community College does just that. We are honoured to be supporting their SEL programme and look forward to hearing about the opportunities this programme creates for the women who will be part of it.’

Elizabeth Waters, Director at An Cosán said:

‘Our SEL programme will place social enterprise at the heart of disadvantaged communities by developing the women’s leadership and social enterprise skills so they can implement solutions and help create social change. Having the support of the City & Guilds Group is a beacon of light for such communities across the whole of Ireland, and we are absolutely delighted to be working together.’

The projects that the City & Guilds Group invests in as part of the Fund must help people get into employment, or progress within employment. For the first year, the Fund is investing in projects around three key themes:

  1. Supporting women and girls to develop their skills
  2. Preventing offending and re-offending
  3. Promoting positive skills labour mobility

For more information about the Fund, visit

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