RBS Group Skills & Opportunities Fund
In 2015, PNE Group were appointed grant administrators for the Royal Bank of Scotland’s Skills & Opportunities Fund.
About the Skills & Opportunities Fund
The Skills & Opportunities Fund aims to build better communities by supporting individuals in disadvantaged communities to develop, create or access the skills and opportunities they need to start or develop a new business, build their financial capability skills or to enter employment.
The programme so far
Since its launch in 2015, the Skills & Opportunities Fund has distributed over £10m to local initiative and organisations. To date, its impact includes supporting 139,282 individuals, helping 5,592 people into employment, aiding 1,698 businesses to start-up and funding 14,203 qualifications.
What we do
As grant administrators for the programme, we:
- Provide constructive support to every applicant: As part of the model for the Funds administration, we developed our digital assessment platform to allow for individualised feedback to be provided to every applicant, offering constructive support on how to improve the project delivery model.
- Review applications using an internal shortlisting process: Our highly-experienced assessors review all applications against criteria and provide feedback for each application.
- Provide support to and engage judge finalists: We were responsible for the recruitment and co-ordination of the judging panel and for engaging judge finalists and providing impartial, public figures.
- Integrated a public vote option into final grant allocations: We provide an engaging final vote platform, encouraging public voters to vote for their favourite projects.
- Provide continuous monitoring of successful applicants: We monitor successful applications until the completion of their projects to ensure each project’s objectives are realised. We offer a support package to applicants which includes signposting to additional support as well as advice and guidance.
- Perform due diligence checks: We perform rigorous due diligence checks on all applications to identify financial and reputational risks.
Our commitment to supporting entrepreneurship was recognised in June 2016 when our collaboration with RBS Group on the Skills & Opportunities Fund won Bronze in the ‘Best Execution’ category at the Corporate Engagement Awards.
Thom Kendrick, Head of Community Programmes at the Royal Bank of Scotland, said: “PNE Group have been an essential partner in the delivery of the Fund. For this type of fund, success is defined by impact – so it is great to know that these grants are funding projects to help people in disadvantaged communities build their skills, get into work, or start a business.”