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LSC Invests £1bn in Diversity


The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) committed over £1billion to programmes that promoted equality of opportunity and greater diversity in the learning and skills sector in 2003-04, according to its Equality and Diversity Annual Report, published this week.

The report reflects the LSC’s investment in programmes and initiatives that had a direct impact on equality of opportunity in the areas of race, gender and disability.

It shows rising success rates for all ethnic minority groups and for women in both further education (FE) colleges and work-based learning. Success rates for learners with learning difficulties and/disabilities in FE colleges also rose.

The report revealed that significant progress is being made in driving up vocational learning among women, particularly those from ethnic minority backgrounds. The number of Black African women in further education rose by nearly 20% from 52,400 in 2002-03 to 61,800 in 2003-04, whilst the figure for women of British Bangladeshi backgrounds increased from 14,800 to 16,200 in the same timescale.

Chris Banks, LSC Chairman, said: "The LSC’s twin aims of improving productivity through skills development and promoting social inclusion go hand in hand. Together they will allow the nation to respond to key demographic changes that will impact on our ability to truly compete in a global market. Fifty per cent of the growth in the workforce will come from minority ethnic communities and of the 1.3 million jobs created over the next decade, over one million are expected to be taken by women."

Shirley Cramer, Chair of the LSC's Equality and Diversity Committee and Chief Executive of the Dyslexia Institute, said that while the report showed that strides were being made in driving equality of opportunity, there is still some way to go.

"As chair of the new committee, I look forward to the task ahead of placing equality and diversity at the heart of the LSC’s strategy and ultimately removing race, gender, disability, age, sexual orientation and religious barriers to vocational education,” she added.

The LSC Equality and Diversity Annual Report is available at


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