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Grants and Bursaries recipients share plans to help disadvantaged students succeed

The Grants and Bursaries programme was initially launched in November 2019, and exists to fulfil our charitable purpose. The programme focuses on supporting UK learners between the ages of 16-30 who are enrolled on an iTEC, VTCT or Skillsfirst qualification. The overall aim of the programme is to transform the lives of the most disadvantaged young people, helping them to fulfil their potential through vocational/technical skills study programmes. The Grants and Bursaries programme enables equal opportunity for those from all walks of life, in order for them to achieve excellent educational outcomes and alleviate barriers to success.

Grants and bursaries can benefit a college or training provider in many ways. This could be providing uniforms or required kit for trainee chefs or beauty therapists, assisting students through a hardship fund or helping people back into work after a career change or family break. It could also be used for transport costs for those in rural areas who might not otherwise be able to afford to attend, or to help with the cost of diagnostic assessments for SEN such as dyslexia. 30 centres were chosen for this year’s grants and bursaries, which we hope will enrich their learners’ experience, and enable them to do activities they might not normally be able to do without this financial aid.

Here is what some of our delighted recipients had to say about receiving Grants and Bursaries:

Gower College:

“We were delighted to learn that we had been selected for this wonderful initiative by VTCT & ITEC, given that many training providers face similar challenges.

Approximately 70% of our learners attending full time provision live in deprived areas of the city. Many learners fall outside of the mainstream funding threshold, which leads to them being further disadvantaged and unable to purchase uniform, starter kits and text books, deemed essential to successfully achieve their qualification and progress onto the next level, or employment.

This bursary will allow us to subsidise essential uniform and kit, and provide equal opportunities for all learners by helping reduce their anxiety and contributing to their wellbeing, while decreasing their financial disadvantage. Inspirationally, attending extra-curricular visits and guest speakers, will aspire them to the endless possibilities of future employment and entrepreneurial opportunities.”


Rita Behar – Principal/EQA/IQA/Assessor at WL Beauty Academy:

“We were honoured to be chosen and that VTCT thought we were entitled to receive this grant. We intend to use the sum to help our learners who are single parents and also on low incomes, to help towards their travel costs and kits. We are passionate about helping learners achieve, as it gives us at WLBA a lot of satisfaction to see our learners thrive and gain qualifications to help them enter the industry. The atmosphere here is so rewarding and seeing previous students visit us and tell us about their jobs and businesses and even their centres that some have started is our reward.”

Robert Russell – Global Head of Zishi Professional Trader Qualifications:

“We are delighted to have received a bursary from VTCT in support of students from disadvantaged and underrepresented backgrounds to attend our work-ready professional qualification programme in financial trading this summer.

ZISHI CEO Chris Jenkins, comments, “As a company we are focused on providing meaningful opportunities for all. The bursary supports our mission to help clients ‘Build Resilience Through Knowledge’, some of which are the world’s largest organisations as well as individuals looking to gain skills that lead to career opportunities within the finance sector. This bursary is particularly important as it enables routes into the sector for underserved communities who may have previously faced barriers accessing vocational education and career opportunities.”

We extend our sincere thanks to VTCT for their support and for recognising the importance of this programme. We intend to use the amount we received this summer, to run a four-week, face-to-face, full-time Level 5 Advanced Diploma in Financial Trading qualification programme at Sheffield Hallam University.

The bursary will be part of a larger funding pool in collaboration with the university to support up to 18 students from underserved student communities across multiple academic disciplines to attend the programme.”

Fiona Birtchet-Sharpe – Head of School (Service Industries) at Preston College:

“We were delighted when we found out we were a recipient of the grant and bursary fund.

We felt that our ethos of supporting learners from deprived backgrounds aligned really well with VTCT’s charitable trust status. Our College has the recognised status as a College of Sanctuary and the allocation of additional funds will go a long way to supporting our learners with much needed additional support.

So far, we have secured specialised products for an additional training course in Type 3 and 4 hair, which will enhance and develop the learners’ skills. In addition, we are able to offer our Level 2 learners additional training in Lash extensions. At the end of this academic year, we intend to use some of the allocation towards our awards event and an end of year celebration which will recognise our learners’ achievements.”

Fi Craig – Academic and Quality Manager at Fife College:

“We were delighted to receive this grant, it means so much to our students. We intend to use the amount for purchasing and providing Cengage textbooks for students to use on their course, and for studying at home – this provides a level playing field for learners who are experiencing financial hardship. We want all learners to have the right to a good education and we believe they deserve equal opportunities for learning. We want to be able to help all of our learners be successful.”

Kersti Harding – Business Director at Debut Academy:

“We were honoured and grateful to be one of the recipients for the grants and bursaries from VTCT.  The grants and bursaries lift the financial burden of providing extra support and delivery to our learners. We are thrilled to have utilised the funds to help pay for our biannual wider curriculum weeks. These weeks are designed to help close the skills gaps in our learners’ journeys and provide them with the necessary knowledge and inspiration to succeed in our industry.

Our last curriculum week was a resounding success, with a total of 246 attendees. We were able to bring in nine industry experts who discussed a broad range of topics, including product knowledge, safeguarding, and marketing.  The feedback we received from our learners was overwhelmingly positive, and we are delighted that we were able to provide them with such valuable experiences.

We are excited to announce that our next curriculum week will be held in May, and we have eight professional experts lined up to deliver a wide variety of topics. These will include professional coaching, starting your own business, and online safety, among others.

Once again, we would like to express our sincere gratitude for VTCT’s support, which has made these events possible. We are confident that our learners will continue to benefit from the knowledge and expertise provided by our industry experts.  Thank you again for your continued support.”


“We were delighted to hear that we were a recipient and really appreciate being chosen.

We intend to use the sum to improve the current training facilities providing students with more up to date technology and comfort on existing desks. We are also increasing the number of trading desks for students to use during the course.

We have a true passion in what we teach and to get the best from the learners who partake in our course. We also want to provide each learner with the best opportunity to use the course as a foundation to become a good trader and/or achieve a respective job in the banking and finance industry.”

Congratulations to all successful applicants.

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