We are pleased to announce our participation in the European Youth Enterprise initiative (EYE-i), following the approval of the project earlier in the Summer.

Over the next two years, EYE-i will explore the potential of social enterprises (including cooperatives and mutuals) to address the challenges of mass youth unemployment in the EU, by exploring how new working environments and improved skills in employability and enterprise can make vocational training more relevant to the changing world of work.

EYE-i will share knowledge between the partners on appraoches to social enterprise and young people and will include research, mobility  visits a transnational workshop for young people from the partner orgaisations.

The UK partners in EYE-i are Rinova and WOTs Associates, who together developed the application for EYE-i to the European Union’s Lifelong Learning programme.  EYE-i brings together six partners from five countries and also includes:

EYE-i has been launched during 2012, which is the International Year of Cooperatives and the inaugural meeting took place in London on the 8th and 9th October.  The first day was spent at the offices of London Youth – who are co-ordinators in London of the Big Lottery’s Talent Match youth enterprise and employment programme. On the second day, the partners undertook a visit to Rinova consortium member Collage Arts, where they met young people who are currently setting up and operating social enterprises at the Chocolate Factory in Haringey.

Richard Parkes of Rinova commented that “Mass youth unemployment in both the UK and the EU is one of the biggest challenges we all face at this time of economic crisis.  Unfortunately many mainstream programmes for young unemployed people are ineffective, unimaginative, more of the same. Partnerships such as EYE-i and the work of the Rinova consortium are looking to create real alternatives, both in thinking and in provision.”

EYE-i partners at the inaugural meeting of the project at London Youth on the 8th October 2012.