Aspire2be is an ESF programme for young people NEET, co-funded by the Skills Funding Agency, which was fully launched in early 2012.

Co-ordinated by Rinova, working closely with the applicant Collage Arts, the Aspire2be partnership consists of a network of independent training organisations and colleges across London, offering an inspiring and diverse range of provision for young people aged 16-19 not in education, employment or training.

18 months in, Aspire2be is on course to meet its ambitious target of moving no fewer than 95% (!) of those young people it engages on the programme into employment or apprenticeships – and is ahead of schedule in all areas: at the most recent count (June 2013), the project has recruited 400 young people; it is 19% ahead of its target for progression into apprenticeships, and 21% ahead of its target for securing 13 and 26-week sustained employment outcomes.

These success rates are taking place in a context where concerns are mounting due to the low rate of positive outcomes on the government’s Work Programme and Youth Contract, the rise in long-term youth unemployment, and where the take-up of apprenticeships by those aged 16-18 year has declined by 13% in a recent nine-month period (click here for details).

Aspire2be has been featured by the ESF Works website as a case study. To hear Keith Gilles of Collage Arts speaking about, click here and also here : ‘Aspire2b has changed a lot of things … it has made me grow as a person.’ Dilshaad Alizaqi, former participant on ASPIRE 2 Be, now a creative industry apprentice. To hear more of Dilshaad’s interview with ESF Works click here.

One innovative feature of Aspire2be is that Rinova and Collage Arts secured European funding to enable a number of its apprentices to undertake work experience and study abroad.  Nine creative apprentices are currently in Rome as part of this programme.  You can follow their experience on their blog, click here .

Pictured above:  Creative apprentices from Aspire2be taking a rest from their work experience in Rome.