We are delighted to announce that two major project applications to the Skills Funding Agency for ESF NEET funding that were developed by Rinova have been approved. Only eight organisations in London were successful with applications to the NEET bidding round in August and competition was intense – and we were fortunate enough to develop projects with two of them: Collage Arts and the London Borough of Wandsworth.

Collage Arts is the lead organisation for the successful pan-London Project (currently titled ‘ACCESS 2’), which includes all the London-based Rinova consortium partners, Kensington and Chelsea College, Westminster Kingsway, City and Islington College, Wandsworth Lifelong Learning, the Prince’s Trust and Exemplas. Manoj Ambasna, Director of Collage Arts said “This result is fantastic news for our London-wide partnership and the Rinova consortium.  In recent years we have delivered successful youth learning programmes for the LSC/SFA and – along with partners such as TAG and 15Billion – employment programmes such as the Future Jobs Fund.  We’ve been making great progress with Apprenticeships this year and so these new ESF projects provide a real strategic link to our work. Being based in Haringey, we saw first-hand the start of the disturbances that spread so quickly from Tottenham. We became more determined than ever to make happen the positive futures that young people deserve. Working with Rinova, we were able to develop an application that offered the SFA an unrivalled partner network of organisations with imaginitive approaches to non formal and formal education, employment brokerage and skills training.  Now the hard work starts for our partnership network to live up to the high expectations we have set ourselves.

The London Borough of Wandsworth was also successful with its application for the ‘TRANSITION’ project in the South West London ‘cluster’ – incorporating a partnership also covering Sutton, Croydon, Merton, Richmond and Kingston. Santino Fragola, Head of Lifelong Learning at Wandsworth Council said “The unrest experienced in many parts of London prompted considerable discussion with local authorities and providers of education and training for young people- and an intense evaluation of current working structures and practices. Among professionals there is a heightened awareness and willingness to develop models of intervention and interaction between stakeholders to truly achieve a step change in the outcomes for young people.

We are therefore delighted that by working closely with Rinova, both in our South West London project and in the pan London project, these efforts led to such important success. Through our partnership with Rinova, we were able to put forward an application founded on an outstanding breadth of provision, offering something for every young person, as well as a willingness to innovate, take risks and cross fertilise best practice.”

Consortium members TAG, WAC and Collage Arts are also partners in the Wandsworth project, as is the Prince’s Trust, joining a locally-based network of Colleges and Providers.

TAG’s Director, Howard de Souza commented “TAG’s sole objective is to help 18-24 year old jobseekers into employment which is why we are absolutely delighted to be part of these new ESF NEET initiatives because they will have a direct impact on the one million young unemployed by helping some of them to find work and enjoy all the benefits that brings. We’ve worked really well with Amanda Francis of Rinova since last year and our partnership with Rinova and the consortium is going from strength to strength.

Amanda Francis, CEO at Rinova, said “With combined budgets of some £3 million, these successful project bids show the value of authentic partnership working and creative approaches to supporting young people to progress to employment. We all hope to make a real impact with them.  They also provide a great platform for us all to work together to create new opportunities in response to the Government’s recently-announced Youth Contract.”