At Skills and Education Group, we’re proudly celebrating a history of supporting the further education and skills sector, dating back 110 years.
In 1912—the year the Titanic sank, the Royal Flying Corps (forerunner of the Royal Air Force) was established, the character Tarzan first appeared, and Alan Turing was born—the foundations for Skills and Education Group were also being built.
Since that time, our organisation has existed in various guises and under different names, but one thing has remained constant: our aim to advance skills and education to improve the lives of individuals, regardless of their background.
The roots of our organisation can be traced back to the East Midland Educational Union (EMEU), which, in 1912, was formed to promote the cooperation of education authorities, teaching institutions and associations for the development of education, especially for the improvement and expansion of work in technical, art and continuation schools. In addition, it would act as an examining and advisory body for students and to issue certificates for successful candidates.
In 1982, the EMEU merged with the Regional Advisory Council for the Organisation of Further Education in the East Midlands (RACOFEEM), forming the East Midlands Further Education Council (EMFEC)—our precursor—which joined Skills and Education Group in 2016.
Since then, the Skills and Education Group branded house (Skills and Education Group Awards, Skills and Education Group Access and BIIAB), has offered a broader range of services than ever before, including awarding services; access to higher education; a membership for further education and skills providers; grant funding for learners; and a range of professional development opportunities to develop the education and skills sector’s workforce.
We also launched the Skills and Education Group Foundation to champion social mobility in the further education and skills sector. In particular, the Foundation provides grants to support learners in overcoming social barriers and advance their skills in education; recognises—through national awards—organisations, staff and learners for their work in improving social mobility; and engages in project-based activity and research relating to further education.
Given this, and with a long, valued history of positive change behind us, the future looks bright. So, at the Skills and Education Group Annual Conference on 26 May, we’ll be taking time to celebrate our 110-year anniversary, reflect on the successes of the further education and skills sector, and look ahead to the future.
Together, with our many member organisations and all the dedicated staff and learners who continue to work so hard to build a better society for all, we look forward to continuing to support the further education and skills sector for many more years to come. We hope that you will join us!