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Print that makes a difference: meet the Skills and Education Group

The work that charities do is beyond important, and when it comes to print,  we are dedicated to helping our customers make a difference. For life. 

We were lucky enough to chat to our lovely customer the Skills and Education Group, to find out a bit more about their organisation, and how print contributes to the amazing work they do.

Tell us a bit about the Skills and Education Group

The Skills and Education Group has a proud 110-year history of supporting the further education and skills sector. We are a unique membership body made up of education and training providers from across the country, and we provide our members with a range of services to support their staff and learners. This includes a professional development programme and grant funding from our charitable foundation.

Our group also comprises three awarding organisations that facilitate learning and progression to employment through a variety of high-quality qualifications and assessments. These are Skills and Education Group AwardsSkills and Education Group Access and BIIAB.

Together with our membership and customers, we make real change in people’s lives locally, nationally and internationally.

What has been your proudest moment as a charity so far?

We recently celebrated our 110-year anniversary by hosting a conference and evening dinner on 26th May 2022. This event brought together our members, customers and several key figures from the sector for a celebration of further education and skills. The day included a keynote address from Jake and Hannah Graf MBE, the UK’s first transgender parents and inspiring advocates for the LGBTQ community, who gave moving accounts of their personal journeys to transition.

Delegates also heard from Mamello Atisa and Naima Pinchen, two adult learners who have shown incredible resilience to overcome significant barriers to their education. Mamello and Naima have been supported by grants from our Foundation, which launched in 2019 to support social mobility in the sector. Hearing first-hand about the positive impact of our work on learners was a moment to be proud of for all connected with the Skills and Education Group. In total, the Foundation has now awarded over £116,000 in grant funding to learners in further education.

After all the challenges of the pandemic, this occasion was a fantastic way to celebrate the impact of our sector and its ability to transform lives.

How did you come across Printed.com?

We have been working with Printed.com for over five years now. Our Brand Manager, Aneka Cann, was familiar with the company through her work as a freelance designer. Since then, we have printed a wide variety of items through Printed.com. This includes Flyers for taking to events, Brochures to showcase our qualifications, and workbooks for learners, to name just a few examples.

We recently printed our 2020/21 Impact Report through Printed.com. This is a document that we produce each year to highlight the positive impact of our work. It includes case studies, photos, statistics and quotes, which collectively tell the story of the group and our members, customers and learners. Copies of the report were distributed at our 110-year dinner, and it is a great resource that showcases the difference we make in the further education and skills sector.

How important is print for your charity?

As an organisation that comprises different subsidiaries, branches and services, print materials help to provide clarity. When meeting with members or customers, it is always useful to have hard-copy resources on hand to provide clear information about what we do. 

Furthermore, we regularly attend events, for which printed materials are essential. Given that the group serves a wide variety of sectors, we have plenty of opportunities to sponsor or exhibit at conferences and other occasions throughout the year. For each of these events, we require materials that represent our brands effectively. Preparing for events is a busy process, and materials often have to be created to meet tight deadlines, so knowing that we can rely on our supplier is crucial. By working with Printed.com, we know that our materials will be printed on time and to a high quality.

How would you describe the service you receive from Printed.com?

We love how quick and easy it is to order online from Printed.com – the process is always smooth and clear, while the quality and range of products is great. From small, printed items to large brochures, they always seem to have everything we need. The reward point system is also a great perk. We cannot fault the service we receive.

What does the 15% off lifetime discount mean to you?

The charity discount is a real bonus for our organisation. We are committed to reinvesting back into the further education sector and, each year, 40% of our surpluses are ringfenced for the work of our Foundation. This discount helps us to maximise our efforts to transform lives – the lower our costs, the more support we can provide to learners.

What are some of your biggest challenges in 2022?

The last couple of years have seen a great deal of change for both our organisation and the wider education sector. During the pandemic, providers had to adapt to overcome the challenges posed by the pandemic and continue to deliver high-quality education for learners. We made it our priority to support our members and customers as best as possible during this testing time. Now, as the sector recovers from the pandemic, our focus is on stabilising. We want to review and improve our own processes and services so that we can continue to support providers effectively in the post-pandemic world.

Despite Covid-19, Skills and Education Group has continued to grow. Most notably, we welcomed BIIAB Qualifications Limited into the Group in March 2021. BIIAB is an awarding and End-Point Assessment Organisation for several sectors and has a reputation as the awarding body of choice for licensed hospitality, thanks to a long-standing partnership with the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII). Now that BIIAB has bedded into the Group, we want to strengthen this branch of the organisation and continue to develop our awarding services.

What print projects do you have coming up?

We are currently reviewing BIIAB materials and are in the process of bringing them up to date and making them consistent with our branding. Once these resources have been updated, they will be printed and distributed to our customers as required.

We are also expanding the activities of our foundation this year to offer new types of grants and more opportunities to access funding. We want to make as many organisations, staff members and learners aware of this opportunity as possible. It is likely that new materials will be created and printed so that we can promote the foundation as effectively as we can.

We have plenty to look forward to in 2023, with the return of our parliamentary reception at the House of Lords, plus our next conference – which has already been confirmed for Tuesday 23 May 2023.

How can people find out more about you?

You can find out more about the Skills and Education Group and our work via our website. You can also follow us on TwitterLinkedIn and Facebook.

Are you a charity or educational organisation looking for print support? We are here to help. Simply get in touch to find out more, or register today using your charity number and start using your 15% lifetime discount straight away.

Register today

About the author

Jack knows everything there is to know about print. With nearly 20 years’ experience, he's an expert in everything from print floor processes to product specifications. When he’s not flexing his printing knowledge you’ll find him looking after his cat, Turnip. No really. That’s her actual name.

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